Say what you will about Cam Newton's play for the New England Patriots last season, but the veteran quarterback still carries plenty of cachet among his peers.
Amid reports that the Atlanta Falcons are looking to trade Julio Jones -- and that the Patriots could be a suitor for the star wide receiver -- our Michael Holley shared some eye-opening intel Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's "Boston Sports Tonight."
"You know who (Jones) really wants to play with? ... He wants to play with Cam Newton. He likes Cam," Holley said, as seen in the video above. "That's the other thing: He thinks (Falcons quarterback) Matt Ryan has lost a little zing on his deep ball."
We know what you're thinking: If Jones thinks Ryan has regressed as a passer, why would he want to play with Newton, who set career lows in passing attempts (242), yards (2,657) and touchdowns (eight) while looking seriously limited in the passing game last season?
But Jones saw Newton twice per year in the NFC South from 2011 to 2019, so he understands what the former Carolina Panthers quarterback was capable of in his prime. The two were also in the same 2011 NFL Draft class -- Newton went first overall; Jones sixth -- and were on opposite sides of the Alabama-Auburn rivalry in college, so there's likely some mutual respect there.
Jones isn't the only player high on Newton's talents, either. After leaving the Baltimore Ravens to sign with the Patriots this offseason, Pro Bowl linebacker Matthew Judon picked Newton as the new teammate he's most excited to play with.
"Super Cam, excited to play with him," Judon said during a Bleacher Report "Ask Me Anything" segment. "Growing up watching what he did in college to becoming an NFL MVP and leading his team to the Super Bowl. They barely lost. What he meant for QBs at the time, it was just incredible what he did."
Newton looked like a shell of his 2015 NFL MVP self last season, and there's a chance he loses the starting job to rookie Mac Jones this season. Players around the league still think highly of the 32-year-old QB, though, and if Jones finds his way to New England, then Patriots fans may have Newton to thank.