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.