Patriots rival thinks Jarrett Stidham will start over Cam Newton

One AFC East coach doesn’t expect to spend much time game-planning for Cam Newton.

Even though the Patriots just signed Newton — a former league MVP, No. 1 overall pick, Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback of the NFC champion Panthers less than five years ago — one rival coach believes Bill Belichick will still opt to start Jarrett Stidham, a 23-year-old fourth round pick who attempted four passes in last year during his rookie season.

“I think they are going to keep 3 QBs. Use Cam Newton perhaps as the wild card. I actually don’t see him starting Week 1 in the offense,” the unidentified coach told ESPN in a text message. “I know one thing for a fact: the Patriots love Jarrett Stidham”

The Patriots also have journeyman veteran 34-year-old Brian Hoyer and are reportedly smitten with the potential of Stidham, who would be an underdog in a true quarterback competition against Newton.

The main concern surrounding Newton is his health, having suffered from knee, foot and shoulder injuries in recent years.

After missing 14 games due to foot injury last season and being released in favor of free agent Teddy Bridgewater, Newton, 31, arrives to New England with the greatest motivation of his career, reflected in his one-year, incentive-laden deal. Over the past two seasons, Newton has gone 6-10 as a starter, while throwing for 3,967 yards, 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Newton’s deal with the Patriots is reportedly for the $1.05 million veteran’s league minimum, but includes incentives that could make it worth up to $7.5 million.

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