Patriots

Did Jarrett Stidham confirm he's been working out with Julian Edelman?

Did Jarrett Stidham confirm he's been working out with Julian Edelman?

What do you do after your quarterback and best friend leaves you after 11 seasons together to join another team?

You start training with his replacement.

That's apparently what New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is doing with Jarrett Stidham following Tom Brady's departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this spring.

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Stidham, the Patriots' expected starter at QB in 2020, posted an Instagram story Wednesday reacting to Milwaukee Brewers utility man (and former Boston Red Sox fan favorite) Brock Holt, who tagged Edelman and Stidham in his own Instagram story while catching passes from a friend on a baseball field.

Holt wrote, "I'm here if you need me @jarrett_stidham8" in his initial post while jokingly comparing his hands to Edelman's.

Stidham's reply: "We've been at it.. Where you at bro?!"

Is Stidham referring to himself and Edelman as "we" and suggesting they've been working out together (aka "been at it") this offseason, then jokingly inviting Holt to join them?

That appears to be the case, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss, who noted that Stidham and Edelman are both in Massachusetts and have been meeting up regularly.

That's not ground-breaking news -- Brady has been running drills with his Bucs teammates for weeks -- but it's still notable considering Massachusetts has stricter social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic than some other states, which has limited Patriots' players ability to meet in person.

It's also a good sign to see New England's No. 1 receiver getting on-field work with Stidham, who appears locked in as the team's starting QB for 2020.

Brady's departure arguably impacted Edelman more than any other Patriot: The 34-year-old caught 100 passes from Brady in 2019 for a career-high 1,117 receiving yards and was the QB's clear favorite target.

But Edelman apparently isn't sulking over Brady's absence as he puts in work with New England's new QB1.

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton might get paid like a backup NFL quarterback in New England -- and he could care less.

The three-time Pro Bowler and 2015 NFL MVP reportedly signed a meager contract with the Patriots on Sunday that includes a $1.05 million base salary and just $550,000 in guaranteed money.

But in an Instagram post Thursday, Newton insisted he's not concerned about his light paycheck.

"This is not about money for me; It's about respect," Newton wrote in the caption, which included the hashtag #ImBettingItAllOnMe.

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Newton was an elite QB before shoulder and foot injuries derailed his career, forcing him to miss a total of 16 games between 2018 and 2019. Those injuries led the Carolina Panthers to release Newton in March and seemingly scared away 30 other teams that viewed the 31-year-old as damaged goods.

But Newton has a great opportunity to revive his career in New England, where he can help the Patriots continue their success in the post-Tom Brady era if he's able to stay healthy.

By regaining that respect, Newton also can help himself get paid: His contract reportedly doesn't prevent New England from franchise tagging him in 2021, which would vault the QB's salary well north of $20 million.

Newton made more than $121 million during his nine seasons in Carolina, so it appears he was willing to take a bargain deal with the Patriots if it meant showing the NFL he can still bring it. 

Will Patriots go over or under oddsmakers' new season win total with Cam Newton?

Will Patriots go over or under oddsmakers' new season win total with Cam Newton?

Oddsmakers decreased the New England Patriots' win total prop for the 2020 NFL season to a new low just a few weeks ago.

The Patriots were set at 8.5 wins -- a notable difference from the 10 or 10.5 win totals we've been accustomed to seeing over the last 20 years. But this Patriots team is quite different. Six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady left in free agency, along with several important veteran players on defense. 

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The reported addition of Cam Newton has changed the Patriots' outlook, however.

The Patriots reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with Newton that could be worth up to $7.5 million if he hits all the incentives in the deal. Newton struggled with injuries in 2019 and played in only two of the Carolina Panthers' 16 games. He's healthy now, though, and also the favorite to win the Patriots' starting quarterback job over 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham.

Oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have increased the Patriots' win total to nine. Here are the latest odds for that prop bet:

Over nine wins: -125
Under nine wins: +103

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It should be noted the Patriots' odds of reaching the 2020 NFL playoffs also have improved to -200. Both conferences will have an extra wild card playoff team beginning next season, and nine wins would have been enough to secure the No. 7 seed in the AFC last season.

Newton, if healthy, should give the Patriots above-average (or better) play at the sport's most important position. His dual-threat skill set would bring a dynamic to the Patriots offense that we've rarely seen during Bill Belichick's 20-year run as the team's head coach.

There are plenty of challenges standing in New England's way of winning more than nine games next season. For starters, they have a difficult schedule that includes matchups versus the best teams in the AFC and several of the top contenders in the NFC. The team also had lots of veteran players, including Brady and its two sack leaders from last season (linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy) leave in the offseason. Adjusting to this kind of roster turnover is a challenge. The offseason as a whole has been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing all team activities to be held virtually. Neither the Patriots nor any other team have been able to hold on-field workouts.

The Patriots are no doubt a better team with Newton now in the fold, but he'll need to be healthy and play at a high level in 2020 for New England to extend its playoff appearance streak to 12 seasons.