For the first time since 2008, the New England Patriots will not participate in the NFL postseason. The Patriots fell to the Miami Dolphins, 22-12, on Sunday to fall to 6-8. They will finish with a non-winning record for the first time since 2000 – Bill Belichick’s first year in New England.
The Patriots will have many tough decisions to make this offseason, most notably what to do under center.
“I can’t imagine that the Patriots would announce at the end of the year, ‘Our plan is to sign Cam Newton and have him be our quarterback going forward,’” NBC Sports NFL analyst Peter King said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I just can’t imagine it.”
Newton, 31, has had his moments with the Patriots but has struggled overall. He has completed 60.1 percent of his passes for 2,381 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions, doing much of his damage (11 touchdowns) on the ground.
“In 2015, his MVP season, Cam Newton had three games in which he threw five touchdown passes,” King said, putting this year’s struggles into perspective. “Cam Newton has played  games this year, and he’s thrown five touchdown passes collectively.”
Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, and James White are the Patriots’ top pass-catchers. That trio has combined for one receiving touchdown.
“[Newton is] understanding now a little bit of what Tom Brady went through at the end of last year,” King said. “Obviously the Patriots, at the end of last year, were a shell of themselves offensively because Bill Belichick – [he] is one of the greatest coaches in team sports history, [but] he’s done a lousy job of stocking his offense. Cam Newton now is suffering the effects of that.”
Newton is averaging 183.2 passing yards per game. In Weeks 12-14, he threw for 272 yards combined.
“Cam Newton, every week when he was in his prime, would throw for 300 [yards],” King said. “And he might be able to get back to his prime. But it’s just hard for me to imagine the Patriots coming back with Cam Newton as their guy next year. Maybe [he comes] back next year, but he’s got to have some more significant competition than Jarrett Stidham.”