When Patriots players released a statement last week expressing their decision to not participate in voluntary workouts at the team’s facilities, they used the vague term “many of us” to identify who would not be showing up.
While we still don’t know how many players intend to skip the workouts, we do know that Cam Newton has shown up up. ESPN reported as such Monday.
In a tweet, Mike Reiss wrote: “Newton is among those leading the charge in attendance.”
Newton, 31, might have on-field reasons for wanting to get in workouts with his teammates in an attempt to bounce back after a lackluster 2020 season and help the new-look Pats experience a resurgence in 2021. But he also has a financial incentive because he has a $100,000 workout bonus as part of the one-year, $5.1 million contract he signed with the Pats, according to Spotrac.com.
Newton isn’t alone among players with the Pats and around the league who will feel pressure — both financially and performance-related — to attend these workouts, even if the NFLPA is discouraging attendance. Offensive tackle Trent Brown, whose attendance has not been confirmed, has the largest workout bonus on the team at $500,000.
Last year, the entire offseason program was virtual because the COVID-19 pandemic was at its outset. This offseason, the program will run for nine weeks starting Monday and wrapping up June 18 after four weeks of OTAs.
Meetings will be virtual for at least the first two phases of the offseason program, April 19 through May 21. The second phase, from May 17-21, will feature on-field work with coaches but at a teaching pace and with no contact.
The OTAs feature the one mandatory event of the offseason, a three-day minicamp.