Patriots

NFL insider takes strong stance on Deshaun Watson-to-Patriots rumors

NFL insider takes strong stance on Deshaun Watson-to-Patriots rumors

New England Patriots fans are always thinking ahead.

Even after the Patriots reportedly signed Cam Newton to a one-year contract following Tom Brady's departure, some fans are wondering who New England's quarterback will be in 2021 if Newton doesn't re-sign.

Specifically, some fans want to know if Deshaun Watson is a possibility. The Houston Texans QB criticized his team for trading star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in March, after all, which sparked rumblings of a potential trade.

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The Athletic's Jay Glazer dumped a bucket of cold water on Watson-to-the-Patriots, however.

"Watson will be with the Houston Texans for a good decade or so. He ain’t going anywhere," Glazer wrote Wednesday in his NFL mailbag. "There is absolutely no shot that will ever happen."

There's a line for the "Freezing Cold Takes" Twitter account to save for future reference.

Glazer makes a compelling argument: The Patriots still are confident in second-year QB Jarrett Stidham, per Glazer, and could have their "quarterback of the future" if he beats out Newton for the starting job. If Newton wins the job, Stidham has another year to develop under Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and new quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch before potentially taking the reins in 2021.

That said, no one would have predicted at this point last year that Newton would be a Patriot. After acquiring high-profile stars like Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown and Newton, New England has proven that no player is completely off the table.

Watson is in a much different situation than those three players: The 24-year-old is one of the best young QBs in football and should command a massive contract after his rookie deal expires in 2022. The Texans very well may give Watson that contract and keep him in Houston for years to come.

If this offseason has taught us anything, though, it's to expect the unexpected.

Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: Chris Simms optimistic about Newton's potential | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Why Cam Newton is so excited about 'surreal' opportunity with Patriots

Why Cam Newton is so excited about 'surreal' opportunity with Patriots

Cam Newton didn't particularly enjoy going unsigned for four months in free agency. But he seems very pleased with where he finally landed.

During his first video conference with reporters since signing with the Patriots last month, Newton shared his first impression of New England. Surprise: it was a positive one.

"I was just blown away by the overall professionalism of the Patriots organization, starting with Robert Kraft, with Coach (Bill) Belichick as well as with (offensive coordinator) Coach Josh (McDaniels)," Newton said. "I do know I was in L.A. (when the Patriots called me) and it kind of caught me by surprise. But at the same time, I enjoyed this whole process."

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Newton has massive shoes to fill after Tom Brady led New England to nine Super Bowl appearances and six championships over the last two decades. He also has a chip on his shoulder playing on a bargain contract with the Patriots after 31 other teams wrote him off this spring due to potential injury concerns.

For all of Newton's confidence in his ability to silence his critics, though, the 31-year-old still finds himself marveling at where he ended up.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I'm still constantly -- I don't want to say in disbelief, but it's just a surreal moment," Newton said. "Nobody really knows how excited I am just to be a part of this organization in (more) ways than one.

"Following up such a powerful dynasty that has so much prestige and lineage of success -- a lot of people would hide from the notion to do certain things, but for me, I think this opportunity is something that I wake up pinching myself each and every day."

Newton has spent about a week at his new workplace as the Patriots continue Phase 1 of training camp at Gillette Stadium. And as he alluded to on Instagram last week, he's fired up about simply pulling into the parking lot.

"It's so surreal coming down 1 Patriot Place each and every day and seeing the whole ambience," Newton added. "Not only that, but seeing so much support around the city of Boston and Foxboro. It's just such a great environment."

Newton is a nine-year NFL veteran with three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance under his belt, but like his Patriots predecessor, a change in scenery appears to be giving him new life.

Bill Belichick confident in Patriots' safety protocols despite opt-outs

Bill Belichick confident in Patriots' safety protocols despite opt-outs

The New England Patriots already have had eight players opt out of the 2020 NFL season, and few would blame Bill Belichick -- the oldest head coach in the league at 68 -- if he made a similar decision.

So, did concerns about COVID-19 lead Belichick to consider not coaching in 2020? It doesn't appear so.

"I feel very good about the environment that we're in," Belichick said Friday in a video conference with reporters. "I feel fine."

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Belichick also confirmed no coaches on his staff have backed out of the 2020 season.

The Patriots are in the "acclimation period" of training camp, with players going through non-padded walk-throughs outside Gillette Stadium as they ramp up for their first padded practice on Aug. 17.

According to Belichick, the players and staff in the building feel confident in their safety so far.

"I can't speak for everybody, but I think my impression is that as an organization, as a coaching staff, the support people, the players -- there's a comfort level with what we're doing and who's doing it and how we're doing it, and we're being productive," Belichick said.

"So, if concerns or problems come up, then we'll address those. But right now, I think it's a good working environment. We're getting a lot done."

Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The Patriots, like every other team, have to follow rigorous safety protocols that include frequent COVID-19 tests, temperature checks and physical distancing measures. That "new normal" will take some getting used to, but Belichick believes the protocols have helped create an environment that coaches and staff feel safe in.

"The organization has taken a lot of steps to ensure everyone's safety and opportunity to do their job and do it safely and do it productively," Belichick said. 

"Certainly there's a lot of responsibility on each one of us to do things in a way that doesn't affect others negatively, that we take the proper precautions that we can and should, so that's what we're doing."