Cam Newton was connected to the Patriots all offseason, and though New England long insisted it was comfortable going into the 2020 season with second-year pro Jarrett Stidham under center, the club ultimately could not resist adding the 2015 MVP on a modest one-year pact.
It has been reported that the deal has a base value of just $1.05MM ($550K guaranteed), with $6.45MM in available incentives that could push the total to $7.5MM. Of those incentives, we knew that $700K came in the form of per-game roster bonuses. Field Yates of ESPN.com passes along the full breakdown, via Twitter:
- $43,750 per game in which Newton is active, up to $700K, as noted above;
- 13% of team snaps: $250K; 20%: $500K; 30%: $750K; 40%: $1MM; 50%: $1.25MM; 60%: $1.5MM (increases to $1.75MM if Patriots qualify for playoffs); 70%: $1.75MM ($2.25MM with playoffs); 80%: $2MM ($3MM with playoffs); 90%: $2.25MM ($3.75MM with playoffs);
- Pro Bowl bonus: $500K;
- All-Pro bonus: $500K;
- $250K for each playoff win in which Newton plays at least 50% of the team’s snaps, up to a maximum of $1MM
So if Newton is healthy, a 2020 payout of about $4MM or so seems well within reach, and a healthy Newton will make the Pats a strong candidate to make the playoffs, so he could bump that number a bit higher with a postseason run. But it will take a lot of work to max out the contract’s value, and as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe observes (via Twitter), all of Newton’s incentives are tied to staying healthy and team performance. There are no individual stat incentives like those that appeared in Tom Brady’s contract in recent years.
Still, the Patriots are probably the best landing spot that Newton could have asked for to revive his career. The defense is strong, the division is winnable, and while the skill position talent could be better, it should be enough for Newton to work with. He can still be hit with the franchise tag in 2021 if he performs well, but a franchise tender would be a nice raise over what he’s getting this year, and a hefty multi-year extension would be in play as well.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.