NFL players move quickly when a desired number becomes available. N’Keal Harry did it shortly after the release of Cam Newton ahead of the 2021 season.
The same happened with the No. 1 jersey after Harry was traded to the Chicago Bears for a seventh-round pick last week. New England Patriots receiver DeVante Parker will be the next player to wear the coveted number starting in the 2022 season.
Corresponding ESPN.com’s Mike ReissParker had worn number 11 during spring training, but when Harry left the team he wasted no time in snapping up the number.
The NFL has only just started allowing players outside of quarterbacks, kickers, and players to wear single-digit numbers in 2021. Several players in previously suspended positions changed their numbers to those worn in college, where these restrictions did not apply.
Because of the number’s previous block, the Patriots didn’t have many players wearing the number 1. Five players in particular have worn the number in team history: Newton, Tony Franklin, John Smith, Harry and Eric Schubert.
Smith, the team’s longtime kicker (1974-83), has the highest approximate of 31 among players who wore the number 1, according to Pro Football Reference’s metric. Parker doesn’t have to do much in this regard.
The path to becoming the best player to wear the number 1 for the Patriots is relatively easy.
According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, there is talk that the Browns may be interested in signing Cam Newton. The Browns just traded for Deshaun Watson, signing him to a 5-year, $230 million deal. However, Watson could miss the entire 2022 season due to a suspension following sexual misconduct lawsuits.
Cleveland traded from Baker Mayfield, who was traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2024 for a fifth-round conditional draft pick. Newton ended up with the Panthers and played in 8 games in 2021, starting 5 of them after the Patriots released him before the start of the season. There are some questions about whether Newton can still play in the NFL. If Florio’s report is true, Newton looks set to get another opportunity to prove he still deserves a starting spot.
Since retiring, Samuel hasn’t been afraid to criticize Bill Belichick. In his latest tirade, Samuel claims the Patriots players were “brainwashed” by the legendary head coach. Samuel also says Belichick needs to win another Super Bowl if he wants to be considered the greatest coach of all time.
At this point, Samuel felt it was more about Tom Brady’s presence than anything else.
As many have said, it’s difficult to give all the credit to either Belichick or Brady. Football is the ultimate team sport, so no one can usually take all the credit for the accomplishments the Patriots have achieved over a 20-year career.
Still, it’s fun to debate issues that can never really be proven one way or the other.
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