Cam Newton headlines NFL players under the most pressure in 2020

If Cam cannot beat out Jarrett Stidham for the starting job and/or Brian Hoyer for a roster spot, it’s over. And taking into account how injury-riddled Newton’s last two seasons have been — as well as the report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Browns were the only other team to show even mild interest in the 2015 NFL MVP — it’s reasonable to surmise the SuperCam days are indeed over.

Cam turned 31 in May. Shoulder and foot injuries have taken a significant toll on his dynamism. In his past eight starts, going back to early November of 2018, Newton is 0-8 with more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (9). In that span, he averaged a measly 18 ground yards per game without a single rushing touchdown. Once a dual-threat monster with jaw-dropping physical traits, Newton’s been a shell of his former self. This is why new Panthers coach Matt Rhule rightly upgraded to Teddy Bridgewater. This is why Chargers coach Anthony Lynn ignored the cries for Cam, sticking with the athletic veteran he knows (Tyrod Taylor) and drafting a quarterback for the future (Justin Herbert). This is why Cam’s former coach, Ron Rivera, traded a fifth-rounder for Kyle Allen instead of just signing Cam to join him on the Redskins.

As is typically the case when Bill Belichick’s Patriots bring in a big-name player, though, the hype around Newton’s New England relocation has been out of control over the past 48 hours …

With Belichick and Josh McDaniels at the controls, Cam’s back! The Pats are once again the team to beat in the AFC East! See you in the Super Bowl, Tom Brady!!!

I’m just not there. Like at all. I don’t think this changes the outlook on the 2020 Patriots’ win-loss record one bit. As I said on my CBS Sports Network show, Time to Schein, this is not a savior situation — this is a flyer. A flyer that, yes, makes sense, considering the current state of New England’s QB room, but a flyer nonetheless. And I have a hard time imagining it bearing much fruit.

That said, it seems like I’m in the minority here. Many suddenly anticipate big things from Cam and the Pats in 2020. These outsized expectations take the pressure through the roof. Oh, and did I mention that Cam is replacing the greatest quarterback of all time?

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