Why I want a QB competition between Patriots' Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham

Why I want a QB competition between Patriots' Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham

The Patriots haven't named their starting quarterback for the 2020 season, but a lot of us sure have.

Can we slow our roll and have a little fun with the fact that for the first time in a long time, there's going to be a quarterback competition in Foxboro?

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It's easy to see "Cam Newton" and skip past the "signed for the minimum after going the offseason with no interest" fine print. We shouldn't. How often do you see a guy who signed for the minimum at the end of June handed the keys to the kingdom?  

I think this is going to be a competition, and just as important, I want it to be a competition. When you factor in that Drew Bledsoe's job was safe (or so we thought), there hasn't been a QB competition going into a season for the Patriots in approximately 600 million years. That's barely an exaggeration given how long the last guy was here.  

But now he's gone, and the Patriots have Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, Cam Newton and some undrafted free agents. We all know Hoyer and the undrafted free agents are the longest of long shots, but Newton vs. Stidham?

Why shouldn't we take it seriously?

The Patriots clearly like Stidham enough to have skipped free agency and the draft when it came to bringing in an upgrade. Then Newton was available for free in late June, so they signed him because it was a no-brainer.

I think Newton wins the job if he's healthy, but am I just giving it him? Hell to the no, and I don't think the Patriots are, either. Tom E. Curran wrote this the other day:

"From indications I’ve gotten, this will be an open competition. The starter’s job isn’t promised to Newton. Importantly, the sense is that Newton understands that. And the belief is that if he’s not the starter coming out of camp, he wouldn’t pull the ripcord and demand his release so he could latch on elsewhere. Both sides want this to work. Both sides know that work is what it will require."

OK! Come on! There it is!

Newton, who signed for the minimum plus incentives, signed that deal without the assurance that the job was his. That means it's a legitimate competition, and one we should all want to see.

The NFLPA wants there to be no preseason games. I'd usually agree, but this season I want preseason games badly. I want to see what Stidham looks like after a year in the system. I want to see what Newton looks like after a lost season. I want to see them pushing each other.

And what if they both look good?

I want the debate of who you like: The guy with an MVP on his résumé who's going to cost big money if he goes off or the cost-controlled second-year kid they took in the fourth round? And would Belichick want to finally have a hyper-athletic quarterback, or would he prefer the kid who isn't the brand name so he can show the world he can turn another unknown into a star?

I want these questions. I want these discussions. We've been bereft of interesting sports storylines for too long now. Let's not throw a perfectly good one away.

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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: Six 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)

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)

Cincinnati Bengals

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

Cleveland Browns

OL Drake Dorbeck (July 29)
OL Drew Forbes (July 29)

Dallas Cowboys

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

Denver Broncos

DT Kyle Peko (July 28)

Detroit Lions

DT John Atkins (July 29)
WR Geronimo Allison (Aug. 2)

Green Bay Packers

WR Devin Funchess (July 28)

Houston Texans

DT Eddie Vanderdoes (July 28)

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)

Los Angeles Rams

OT Chandler Brewer (July 31)

Minnesota Vikings

NT Michael Pierce (July 28)

New Orleans Saints

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

New York Giants

WR Da'Mari Scott (August 2)
LT Nate Solder (July 29)

New York Jets

OL Leo Koloamatangi (July 28)
LB CJ Mosley (Aug. 1)

Philadelphia Eagles

WR Marquise Goodwin (July 28)

Seattle Seahawks

OG Chance Warmack (July 27)

Tennessee Titans

OL Anthony McKinney (July 28)

Washington Football Team

DT Caleb Brantley (July 27)

Free Agents

G Larry Warford (July 28)

Bucs' Tom Brady celebrates 43rd birthday with self-aware tweet

Bucs' Tom Brady celebrates 43rd birthday with self-aware tweet

What do you get a six-time Super Bowl champion with a supermodel wife and millions of dollars for his birthday?

Turns out the answer is pretty simple: a new phone.

Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turns 43 years old Monday, and once he hits the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, he'll be just the fifth QB in NFL history to take a snap past 43.

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Here's how Brady celebrated his first birthday outside New England in over two decades:

What's with the new iPhone reference? Well, Brady inadvertently let slip on his Instagram story this weekend that he's still rocking an iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6 came out in September 2014, back when Brady still was seeking his fourth Super Bowl title and had yet to become entangled in the Deflategate debacle.

There's nothing wrong with keeping the same phone for six years, but when you're a multimillionaire of Brady's stature, you can probably upgrade a bit more often.

Then again, nothing reinforces Brady's status as the NFL's oldest non-kicker like the QB rocking some out-of-date technology.

At least his wife, Gisele Bundchen, still supports him, regardless of what iPhone model he has.