The New England Patriots gave Cam Newton a chance to revitalize his NFL career last season, and for reasons the veteran QB could and couldn't control, success was hard to come by.
Newton struggled and so did the Patriots as a whole. They finished the 2020 campaign with a 7-9 record and saw their 11-year playoff appearance streak end.
The Patriots have stuck by Newton, though. They re-signed him to a one-year contract and he got a good chunk of the reps during mandatory minicamp practices at Gillette Stadium last week.
The upcoming quarterback competition between Newton, Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones during training camp and the preseason will be a pivotal one for the former league MVP. So much so that one NFL legend thinks Newton's career is on the line.
"If I know Cam, though, he's going to be ready to compete,” Deion Sanders said last week on NFL Network show "NFL Total Access".
“I don't know how long they're going to give him, but Cam is going to be ready to compete because this is it. This is it. This is it. You don't get this one, it's a wrap. And I think Cam is ready to compete."
Newton's toughest competitor in the battle for the starting job figures to be Jones, the rookie from Alabama who the Patriots selected with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jones had a good minicamp and often displayed the high level of accuracy that helped the Crimson Tide passing attack dominate opponents en route to a national title last season.
Will Newton's days as a starting quarterback end if he doesn't beat out Jones before Week 1? It's hard to say, but what we do know is Newton has all the motivation he could possibly need to win the starting job and get his career back on track.