The Patriots’ longtime intimidation of AFC East opponents might not be over, even with the departure of Tom Brady.
In an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio, Jets offensive lineman Greg Van Roten spoke about Newton’s potential with his new team. Van Roten, 30, was Newton’s teammate from 2017-2019.
Asked about the Panthers’ decision in March to release Newton, Van Roten elaborated on the risk Carolina took in cutting the team’s No. 1 overall pick from the 2011 NFL draft.
“I was surprised, but I also saw it coming if that makes sense,” he explained. “It was one of those situations where you have this talent, you have this franchise quarterback, and you’re going to release him?
“To me that seems like an interesting business decision, because you can replace a coaching staff, you can get a new scouting department, you can get a new business side of football,” he added. “When it comes to a franchise quarterback — and there are plenty of teams that will attest to this — you better be right, because you’re mortgaging the next couple of years on that decision.”
Newton was cut by Carolina after missing most of the 2019 season with a foot injury.
“I know Cam has some injury issues in the past, but the guy is a competitor,” Van Roten noted.
With the addition of Newton, the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart is potentially back among the best in the division. Brady’s departure in free agency to the Buccaneers left untested second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham as the team’s possible starter (along with veteran Brian Hoyer).
Newton — given his injury history — is far from a guaranteed replacement for Brady. But as Van Roten was quick to point out, anything resembling Newton’s old self would be a scary prospect for Patriots’ opponents.
“It’s definitely terrifying to think about if Cam Newton’s healthy and he’s in Belichick’s offense, you know, in my division,” Van Roten admitted. “It could be a long year for the other teams because he’s a game-changer. He came into the league, he was a league MVP, brought a team to a Super Bowl, he’s just built different than a lot of quarterbacks.
“He’s a headache to game-plan for,” he added. “So when he’s healthy, you can stop the run from him, but then you’ve got to defend the pass. And if you can stop the pass, well then you’ve got to account for the run. So it’s basically pick one thing and then he’ll do the other. And then you couple him with Belichick, who only cares about winning, and Cam really wants to prove himself. So it’s definitely a recipe for disaster for the rest of the league if they can figure it out.”