The Patriots have agreed to sign Cam Newton, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a one-year deal that could be worth as much as $7.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) adds. The base portion is believed to be much lower, however, and Newton likely didn’t receive much in the way of guarantees.
The Patriots checked in with Newton during the early stages of free agency, right around the time Tom Brady took off for Tampa Bay. However, at the time, Newton was seeking a deal that was more in line with his previous earnings. Thanks to injuries, the former MVP had to stay patient and slash his asking place before finding his home in New England.
The 2015 NFL MVP and three-time Pro Bowler has struggled in recent years. Since 2016, he’s ranked 30th in Total QBR while spending large chunks of time on the sidelines. But he remains a high-end talent and a very intriguing addition to the Pats’ offense in the post-Brady era.
Newton was limited to only two games in 2019, but he did make 14 starts in 2018. In that year, he completed a career-best 67.9% of his throws for 3,395 yards, 24 TDs, and 13 picks. He also showed that he can still make plays with his feet – he tallied 488 rushing yards and four scores on 101 carries. For his career, Newton has amassed a 68-55-1 record as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. That record includes a perfect 2-0 mark against his new team.
After replacing Newton with Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers tried to trade their longtime star to the Bears and Chargers. Those deals did not come together – the Bears went on to trade for Nick Foles instead while the Chargers waited ’til April to tap Justin Herbert as their new QB addition. With no takers, the Panthers dropped Newton to save $19MM+ in cap room versus $2MM in dead money.
Now, Newton has a prime opportunity to show the world what he can do. Even after his 2018 shoulder relapse and last year’s Lisfranc surgery, Newton still believes that he can play at a high level. For what it’s worth, he’s now six months removed from his December foot surgery and he’ll more or less enter camp with fresh legs.
With Newton, plus a mix of familiar and new faces, the Patriots’ offense is starting to look pretty formidable. Newton will be working with Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead in the backfield while targeting a receiver group headlined by Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and N’Keal Harry. The biggest question mark, perhaps, remains at tight end, where they’ll be largely dependent on rookies Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.