The New England Patriots once again have Super Bowl aspirations after they signed Cam Newton to a one-year incentive laden deal.
After losing Tom Brady via free agency, the Patriots were looking at Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer taking over the starting position.
Newton causes many to say he will automatically be the starter, but Rob Ninkovich doesn’t think so.
Speaking on NFL Live, the former Patriots linebacker explains why Newton could be the third string quarterback when he finally walks into the New England facility.
“He’s got to earn the starting position before he can win more games than Tom Brady,” Ninkovich said.
“Look, the Patriots aren’t going to just make him the starting quarterback instantly. His contract that he signed is basically coming in, ‘hey look. Earn it.’ … He might be the third-string quarterback when he comes in. He might be behind Stidham and Brian Hoyer. Look, they’re going to test him physically and mentally. They’re going to say, ‘come in here. You’re new to this system.
You’re new to this building. You have to come out here and earn the trust of everybody in the locker room.’ Earn the trust of your teammates, and see how he reacts to that. Put him in at third string and he’s pouting around and doesn’t take hold of the reins and grab leadership roles. You don’t know how people are going to react. The Patriots are going to put people through tests.
“They’re going to test you physically, mentally. How do you respond to certain situations? Cam has never been in a spot where he had to fight for a starting role. Now he’s going to go into a competition. Competition brings out the best in every player on that roster. He is not a first-round pick anymore. He’s not a highly-guaranteed money player anymore. He’s coming in to compete, and we’ll see what happens. He first has to earn the starting job.”
Newton’s ninth year in the league ended due to a Lisfranc injury two weeks into play, which caused him to miss the final 14 games and undergoing surgery Dec. 9.
Carolina Panthers chapter ultimately closed when he received his release March 24.