Patriots

Mike Lombardi won't rule out Cam Newton to Patriots despite Bill Belichick's reluctance

Mike Lombardi won't rule out Cam Newton to Patriots despite Bill Belichick's reluctance

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots appear pretty comfortable with their quarterback situation heading into the 2020 season, but the Cam Newton rumors still won't evaporate. 

Former Patriots executive - and Bill Belichick confidant - Mike Lombardi won't rule out New England as a possible landing spot for Newton, despite writing for The Athletic that the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars may be a better fit. 

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"Still, if Newton’s medical and price tag aligns with the Patriots’ salary cap thinking, I would never rule them out as potential suitor," Lombardi wrote. "Newton could play well in New England. He would have to accept the structure and culture, but his love of football and his love of winning would allow him to adapt."

Belichick indicated on Thursday that he plans to go into the summer with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and undrafted free agents J'Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke as his QB group, so there's no reason to believe the Patriots will sign Newton. Our Tom E. Curran has reported that Newton "isn't in the Patriots' plans."

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However, if Stidham and Hoyer, who will more than likely top out that group, don't perform well, then maybe Belichick could take a look at Newton down the road, provided he's available at the right price for the salary-cap strained Pats. The former Pro Bowl QB turns 31 on Monday and wherever he goes, he'll have to take a significant cut from the $16 million he made last year with the Carolina Panthers.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels "wasn't necessarily high on" Newton when he talked to the Panthers about their head coaching job this offseason, The Athletic's Joseph Person reported earlier this week.

Stidham, though, has a promising season ahead of him, and he did perform well in his final season at Auburn in 2018. The former Tigers QB, who'll turn 24 Aug. 8, threw for 2,794 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding three rushing TDs and completing 60.7 percent of his passes before becoming a fourth-round pick of the Patriots last year. 

It's not difficult to see why Belichick is comfortable with Stidham as QB1 and why Newton, who is coming back from a broken foot that limited him to two games last season, likely isn't bound for Foxboro. 

You have to at least give the kid a shot, and if he doesn't prove himself, then you move on. And Belichick will likely move on to Hoyer before looking at another high-profile QB. 

NFL Rumors: Patriots re-sign undrafted rookie WR Isaiah Zuber

NFL Rumors: Patriots re-sign undrafted rookie WR Isaiah Zuber

The New England Patriots brought one of their undrafted rookies back into the fold on Wednesday.

Isaiah Zuber, a wide receiver out of Mississippi State, reportedly has been re-signed after being cut by the team a week ago.


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Zuber played three seasons at Kansas State before transferring to Mississippi State for his senior season, in which he tallied 14 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns. The 23-year-old's best college season came during his junior year, when he had 52 catches for 619 yards and five touchdowns.

The Patriots have had eight players opt out of the 2020 NFL season so far -- including WR Marqise Lee -- thus opening up roster spots for the undrafted free agents who initially were cut. Fellow UDFA receiver Will Hastings also was re-signed by the team shortly after being released.

NFL opt-outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL opt-outs: Complete list of players who won't play in 2020 season

NFL training camps officially began Tuesday, but there were some notable absences.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season last Friday, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, multiple players have followed suit, continuing a trend across all major North American professional sports of players declining to participate in their seasons as COVID-19 persists in the United States.

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The Patriots especially have felt the impact of this trend: Eight New England players -- including star linebacker Dont'a Hightower -- already have opted out, the most of any NFL team.

Below is a running list of the players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season, according to reports or team/player confirmations. The list is sorted alphabetically after the Patriots, with the date of the players' opt-outs in parentheses.

New England Patriots

RB Brandon Bolden (July 28)
OT Marcus Cannon (July 28)
S Patrick Chung (July 28)
LB Dont'a Hightower (July 28)
WR Marqise Lee (August 1)
OG Najee Toran (July 27)
FB Danny Vitale (July 27)
TE Matt LaCosse (August 2)

Arizona Cardinals

OT Marcus Gilbert (August 4)

Baltimore Ravens

OT Andre Smith (July 28)
WR/KR De'Anthony Thomas (July 27)

Buffalo Bills

CB E.J. Gaines (August 2)
DT Star Lotulelei (July 28)

Carolina Panthers

LB Jordan Mack (July 28)
LB Christian Miller (August 3)

Chicago Bears

DT Eddie Goldman (July 28)
S Jordan Lucas (August 3)

Cincinnati Bengals

OT Isaiah Prince (July 31)
DT Josh Tupou (July 31)

Cleveland Browns

DT Andrew Billings (August 4)
OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)
OL Colby Gossett (August 4)

Dallas Cowboys

CB Maurice Canady (July 27)
WR Stephen Guidry (July 28)
FB Jamize Olawale (August 2)

Denver Broncos

OT JaWuan James (August 3)
DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (August 2)
C Russell Bodine (August 5)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

Indianapolis Colts

DB Rolan Milligan (August 5) 
LB Skai Moore (August 4)
DB Marvell Tell (August 5)

Jacksonville Jaguars

EDGE Larentee McCray (August 1)
DL Al Woods (July 31)

Kansas City Chiefs

OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (July 24)
RB Damien Williams (July 29)

Las Vegas Raiders

LB Ukeme Eligwe (August 4)
CB D.J. Killings (August 3)
DE Jeremiah Valoaga (August 3)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Miami Dolphins

WR Allen Hurns (August 4)
WR Albert Wilson (August 5)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

TE Jason Vander Laan (July 28)
TE Cole Wick (July 28)

New York Giants

CB Sam Beal (August 5)
WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB C.J. Mosley (August 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

San Francisco 49ers

WR Travis Benjamin (August 4)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (August 3)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)