Patriots

James White 'confident' in whoever starts at QB for Patriots in 2020

James White 'confident' in whoever starts at QB for Patriots in 2020

The New England Patriots will soon embark on a new era without Tom Brady as their starting quarterback, and another one of the team's leaders has faith in the players most likely to follow in the six-time Super Bowl champion's footsteps.

The Patriots currently have two quarterbacks on their roster -- Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer -- following Thursday's release of veteran Cody Kessler

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Patriots running back James White, who's won three Super Bowl titles in his six seasons in New England, spoke to reporters Thursday in a Zoom video conference. He was asked about the team's quarterback situation post-Brady, and the veteran running back has no qualms about who might start at the position.

“It'll be a little different," White said. "I played with (Brady) my whole career, so I learned a lot from that guy. We appreciated him as a teammate, we all learned a lot from him. Guys come and go each and every year, so you have to be able to compete with new people. We’re confident in Stidham, confident in Hoyer, whoever it happens to be.”

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast:

Stidham is the favorite to win the starting job. He didn't get many regular season reps as Brady's backup in 2019, but the rookie QB did impress during the first-team reps he received in training camp and the preseason. The 2019 fourth-round pick completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 731 yards with four touchdowns and one interception over four preseason appearances.

“He came in and competed right away,” White said of Stidham. “Our offense can be pretty complex, and he was willing to learn, willing to take the coaching. He keeps fighting no matter what the situation is. The second year, he’ll come in ready to learn. We’re all competing trying to make each other better football players, be on the same page on offense so we can all help each other out.”

Patriots leaders have been full of praise for Stidham over the last two weeks. Team captains such as Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater have praised the young quarterback's poise, maturity and work ethic, among other attributes.

NFL rumors: Salary details of Cam Newton's Patriots contract revealed

NFL rumors: Salary details of Cam Newton's Patriots contract revealed

The New England Patriots aren't spending a whole lot of money to bring Cam Newton to Foxboro.

Reports surfaced Sunday night that the Patriots and the veteran quarterback had agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth up to $7.5 million. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Wednesday the financial breakdown of Newton's contract with the Patriots, including the base salary, guaranteed money and incentive totals.

The Patriots didn't have much salary cap space before this move. In fact, they recently had the lowest amount of available cap space in the entire league. So, for them to be able to acquire Newton and not have to spend a ton of money or cap space is pretty extraordinary.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Newton's contract is that the Patriots could franchise tag the 31-year-old quarterback next offseason. It gives New England more options in the event Newton has a strong 2020 season.

Listen and subscribe to the Next Pats Podcast:

There's not a ton of risk with this move, and it could end up being one of the best roster additions of Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure in New England if Newton is able to stay healthy.

Newton is a former league MVP (2015) and has been one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch throughout his nine-year career. The last time he played close to a full season was 2018, when the former No. 1 overall draft pick threw for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Newton also ran for 488 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns in those 14 games.

If he produces similar or better statistics in 2020, the Patriots should have a strong chance to extend their playoff appearance streak to 12 seasons.

NFL rumors: Week 1 and Week 4 of 2020 preseason schedule to be eliminated

NFL rumors: Week 1 and Week 4 of 2020 preseason schedule to be eliminated

The NFL preseason could feature half as many games as we're accustomed to seeing.

ProFootballTalk reported Wednesday that Week 1 and Week 4 of the 2020 preseason will be eliminated.

Here's an explanation from PFT's Mike Florio:

The move was driven by two primary factors. First, teams who will be playing preseason games on the road won’t want to move that many people. Second, given that no teams had on-field practice sessions in the offseason, coaches would rather have the extra time to work with their teams, and that will happen if they don’t have to worry about two extra preseason games.

The NFLPA has yet to sign off on these moves, according to NFL Media's Mike Garafolo:

These cuts make a lot of sense as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the United States and the rest of the world. The pandemic has forced all offseason activities so far to be held virtually. Training camps are scheduled to begin July 28, and the league announced earlier this week that it's sticking to that date

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

What would these preseason changes mean for the New England Patriots? It's not yet known if teams will just play their Week 2 and Week 3 preseason games, or if any opponents and/or dates will also be changed.

Here's the Patriots' original preseason schedule that was announced a few weeks ago:

  • Thursday, August 8 at Lions, 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, August 17 at Titans, 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 22 vs. Panthers, 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 29 vs. Giants, 7:30 p.m.

The most intriguing matchup on the Patriots' preseason schedule is with the Panthers, especially after New England reportedly agreed to sign former Carolina quarterback Cam Newton

Newton spent nine seasons with the Panthers before being released in March. He was a free agent for several months before finally landing in New England. This preseason matchup would be Newton's first time playing against the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2011.

It sounds like both the league and NFLPA still have some things to work out regarding the preseason. In any event, playing the full four-game schedule doesn't make a ton of sense given the current COVID-19 situation.