There was some speculation that New England went with Mac Jones as its starter and did not keep Newton around as a backup due to the veteran’s vaccine status — because it is harder for teams to depend upon players who are subject to stricter protocols — but Bill Belichick denied this notion.
According to NFL Network, Newton has had contact with teams who know that the 32-year-old now is vaccinated. It was not yet reported which organizations Newton had been in communication with.
The 2015 MVP spent one season with the Patriots, where he underwhelmed (eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions) as the first QB to succeed Tom Brady in New England. The team finished 7-9 and in fourth in the AFC East.
Newton has not been at the height of his powers since he suffered a shoulder injury late in 2016, but he is still arguably good enough that he warrants a job — perhaps a starting one. Even in a down 2020, Newton had an 82.9 quarterback rating, slightly lower than Jones’ rating (86.4) this year. After getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he has a better chance of landing another NFL gig.