Cam Newton came to the New England Patriots with what many saw as an outside chance to earn the starting job, but the former NFL MVP may soon have the position locked down after what could be a long-term injury to second-year player Jarrett Stidham.
As Yahoo Sports reported, Stidham is dealing with an ailing hip that is expected to take several weeks to fully heal. The report noted that the 24-year-old had to go to the hospital on Thursday for precautionary testing, and though tests came back negative, the ailment is still expected to impact his ability to play out the remainder of training camp, and could keep him sidelined beyond opening day.
While the ailment has not kept him from attending practice, he was not wearing pads or going through full drills.
Here is Jarrett Stidham walking out to practice. No pads today pic.twitter.com/A2DzhIXaNw
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) August 21, 2020
As the report added, Newton now appears to have solidly moved into the starting role for New England.
“Stidham’s injury opens the door for Cam Newton to take over as the team’s starter,” the report noted. “That always felt like the most probable outcome considering Newton’s status as a former MVP, but a rumor emerged that the team could utilize a two-quarterback platoon in 2020.
“That rumor felt speculative, as Newton, 31, has a lengthy history of being an excellent quarterback. He’s won an MVP, made the All-Pro team and is a three-time Pro Bowler. Stidham has thrown four regular season passes.”
As The Inquisitr reported, many believed the Patriots were high on the fourth-rounder and had initially viewed him as a potential franchise quarterback. The fact that he was able to lock down the backup spot last year behind Tom Brady was seen as a significant accomplishment, as Brady’s age meant he could go down at any time.
Before the Patriots signed Newton, many believed that Stidham would end up being the Week 1 starter without much of a competition.
As NBC Sports reported, Newton appeared to be taking over the competition even before the injured hip cast doubt on the younger quarterback. The former Carolina Panthers star had more snaps in 11-on-11 drills, and performed better in the additional chances that he did get.
The unusual preseason has added complications to the battle for the job, however. The NFL scrapped preseason games this year in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which prevented Stidham from seeing more playing time after rarely seeing the field last year and not allowing Newton to show whether he had fully recovered from the injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of last season.