Cam Newton

Breakdown Of Cam Newton’s Contract With Patriots

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.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Gase

Prior to being selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2016 draft, quarterback Jacoby Brissett wanted nothing to do with New England.

“I honestly did not want to be there,” Brissett said on the McCourty twins’ podcast (via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston). “When I took my visit there — my pre-draft visit — I was like, ‘Hell no. If one team drafts me, it better not be them.’

“And I’ll never forget, (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) called me on the phone on draft night and I didn’t have his number saved. That’s how bad it was. I didn’t even have his number saved in my phone. I was like, ‘Damn, man.'”

You can’t necessarily blame Brissett for feeling that way. Besides having to play behind one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady, the rookie QB was also behind former second-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo on the depth chart. Due to suspensions and injuries to his teammates, Brissett ended up seeing time in three games (two starts) during his rookie campaign. The following year, the Patriots shipped Brissett to the Colts in exchange for wideout Phillip Dorsett.

“Honestly, that was my wake-up to the NFL, was being traded and then the next week, you’re out there in a game,” Brissett added. “It was like, ‘We don’t care how long you’ve been here. You’d better know how to play.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the AFC East…

  • Speaking of Patriots quarterbacks, Cam Newton is in New England to complete his physical and finalize his one-year deal, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The reporter notes that the Patriots are confident in the quarterback’s “condition” and aren’t anticipating any issues with the physical. Injuries limited Newton to only a pair of games in 2019, forcing him to settle for a one-year, $1.75MM deal with New England.
  • If the Dolphins are forced to trim their training camp roster, then Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald points to a handful of undrafted rookies who could get cut, including offensive linemen Jonathan Hubbard, Nick Kaltmayer, and Donell Stanley. Jackson also opines that a handful of veterans could be sent packing, a group that includes offensive linemen Adam Pankey and Keaton Sutherland, quarterback Jake Rudock, fullback Chandler Cox, and receivers Ricardo Louis and Mack Hollins.
  • Connor Hughes of The Athletic did a somewhat similar exercise with the Jets, as he explored which players could be traded if New York gets off to a sluggish start. The writer points to wideout Breshad Perriman, linebacker Avery Williamson, running back Le’Veon Bell, defensive end Henry Anderson, and safety Marcus Maye as potential trade candidates.
  • While Hughes believes that Adam Gase has received some underserved criticism during his tenure in New York, the writer also can’t envision the Jets head coach keeping his job if the team finishes with seven or fewer wins. Of course, there are plenty of scenarios where the Jets struggle and Gase does keep his job, especially if quarterback Sam Darnold misses more time in 2020.

AFC Notes: Simmons, Newton, Ravens

Broncos safety Justin Simmons has still not signed his franchise tender, and like most players seeking new contracts, Simmons’ negotiations have been impacted in a big way by the pandemic. As a result, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post believes Simmons is more likely to play out the 2020 campaign on his $12.7MM tender than land a multi-year pact. The one caveat to that would be if Simmons is willing to give Denver a hometown discount, but there have been no real indications that he is willing to do so.

However, O’Halloran does not expect the process to be an ugly one, and he fully believes Simmons will sign his tender and report to camp if there is no new deal in place by the July 15 deadline.

Let’s take a quick trip around the AFC:

  • Much has been made of the minimal guarantee and base salary that 2015 MVP Cam Newton stands to earn under his new one-year pact with the Patriots. 49ers CB Richard Sherman took to Twitter to express his outrage over the deal, calling it “disgusting” that a player like Newton would have to settle for such chump change (and ignoring the myriad injury concerns that led to the contract). But Newton himself, in his first public comments about the financial details (via Instagram), said simply “[t]his is not about money for me. It’s about respect.” A productive season in Foxborough would lead to Newton’s market rebounding in a big way in 2021, though the Pats may be inclined to use the franchise tag on him if that happens.
  • The Ravens lost future Hall-of-Fame RG Marshal Yanda to retirement this offseason, and though the club has a number of young players who could replace him, the pandemic will likely give veterans a leg up over less experienced talents. As such, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic expects D.J. Fluker to win the starting right guard gig, while 2019 left guard Bradley Bozeman is the clear favorite to reprise his role in 2020.
  • In the same piece linked above, Zrebiec notes that the Ravens, who recently cut veteran LB Jake Ryan, did so because both sides realized that Ryan — who has only played in two games since 2017 — still wasn’t healthy and wouldn’t have enough time to get healthy and learn the team’s defense.
  • In case you missed it, Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue may be prepared to sit out the entire 2020 season if he does not get traded.

Cam Newton Gets $550K Guaranteed From Patriots

The details on Cam Newton‘s contract are in. And they’re not all that favorable for the former MVP. Newton’s one-year deal guarantees him just $550K with a base salary of $1.05MM, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Newton’s Deal Does Not Prevent 2021 Franchise Tag]

Newton can earn up to $5.75MM in incentives and $700K in per game roster bonuses, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) adds, bringing the contract’s total potential value to ~$7.5MM. The deal does not include a clause restricting the Patriots’ ability to franchise tag him either, so Newton’s post-2020 upside is somewhat limited.

The Browns also kicked the tires on Newton, but the Patriots were the only team to offer him a deal this offseason. Not long ago, Newton was one of the game’s most electrifying players and one of the league’s most dangerous threats under center. Three years and three surgeries later, he’s gone from an exclamation point to a question mark. Newton has missed 16 of his last 18 games and no one knows exactly what he has to offer in 2020.

Any way you slice it, Newton’s deal is as low-risk/high-reward as it gets. Newton, meanwhile, will have an opportunity to silence the critics and reclaim his status as one of the game’s best quarterbacks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Newton, Williams, Giants

Most of Cam Newton‘s 2020 earning potential will be through incentives. As for base salary, the Patriots landed a former MVP for the league minimum. Newton will earn just $1.05MM in 2020 base salary, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter). The Pats entered the week with the least cap space in the NFL. New England guaranteed Newton just $550K, which is notable given the veteran passer’s injury issues in recent years. Newton underwent foot surgery in December and has rehabbed that Lisfranc issue for several months. The 31-year-old standout can collect $6.45MM through incentives and pre-game roster bonuses, La Canfora adds. The contract does not prevent the Pats from franchise-tagging Newton next year.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Giants and Leonard Williams discussed a new deal late last season and before the March franchise tag deadline, but the sides were not especially close on terms. Now franchise-tagged at $16.1MM, Williams wants a deal that will pay him between $18-$20MM per year, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano notes. The Giants did not want to go there. Although Dave Gettleman traded for Williams in a contract year, Vacchiano adds the ex-Jet may have less support among Giants brass. While Williams is a former top-10 pick, he has 17.5 sacks in five seasons — including a half-sack last year. That sack total ranks 84th since 2015, though the interior defender’s 101 QB hits rank 12th in that span. This massive gap, along with the tag, creates an interesting negotiation.
  • Evan Engram may have missed Giants team activities in a normal offseason; the fourth-year tight end underwent foot surgery late last year. But New York’s top tight end recently posted a video featuring him running and cutting, via the New York Post. While Engram is far from a safe bet, given his injury propensity as a pro, this represents a good sign for a Giants team that did not use its top skill-position configuration — Engram-Saquon BarkleySterling ShepardGolden TateDarius Slayton — once last season.
  • Despite the Patriots waiting until late June to add their likely starting quarterback, their QB situation now looks better than the Redskins‘. Ron Rivera discussed a Newton deal earlier this offseason but said this week the fit was not right in Washington. “If the circumstances had allowed us, I would not have had an issue with that,” Rivera said during an interview with 670 The Score (via NBC Sports Washington). “I would’ve been very confident and comfortable going after him and bringing him to be part of what we’re doing here.” The Redskins are set to enter training camp with Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen as their top healthy QBs, though Alex Smith remains on the roster.

Latest On Patriots, Cam Newton

The Patriots added Cam Newton in between their virtual offseason and the scheduled start of training camp. Newton’s asking price appears to have moved the needle between the parties.

New England did not express much interest in Newton earlier this offseason, when the franchise explored a deal, but Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes that changed when the former MVP lowered his demands (subscription required). A report even surfaced indicating Patriots OC Josh McDaniels was lukewarm on the passer when he interviewed for the Carolina HC job. But Newton is now New England-bound and primed for his second act.

It is unclear what Newton wanted earlier this offseason, but he was not closely connected to many teams. He ended up signing an incentive-laden deal that will max out at just $7.5MM. He was set to earn more than $19MM in the final year of his previous contract with the Panthers. With Newton’s money not yet on the Pats’ payroll, they hold the least amount of cap space in the NFL at less than $1.5MM. They have not made any plans to accommodate Newton’s deal yet, per Howe. Restructures could well occur in the near future.

Bill Belichick called around on Newton prior to the move, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting that ex-Panthers OC Norv Turner received a call. That prompted Turner to predict a few days ago that Newton would end up in New England.

While Newton not starting in Week 1 would be shocking — should he be healthy at that point — Howe notes the Pats did not guarantee him their QB1 gig. Given the organization’s “do your job” mantra, and Newton’s struggles with injuries over the past three years, that is not surprising. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer represent Newton’s primary competition, and while Howe adds that Stidham’s work in the virtual offseason did not contribute to the Pats signing Newton, it would be difficult to envision a reality that features a healthy Newton not opening the season as New England’s trigger man. The Pats giving Stidham a cozy path to the job would have pointed to the team being comfortable with a transition year, and Breer adds that Belichick had no intention of “punting on this season.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cam Newton’s Patriots Deal Does Not Prevent 2021 Franchise Tag

Were the Patriots to see a rejuvenated Cam Newton this season, they will not only have exclusive negotiating rights regarding an extension. They can keep the quarterback via the franchise tag, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweeting Newton’s contract will not prevent the Pats from tagging him in 2021.

Newton signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal that could max out at just $7.5MM. The non-exclusive franchise tag for quarterbacks came in at $26.8MM this year. This season will certainly be a high-stakes slate for Newton’s future, but the Patriots having the ability to keep him around without an extension agreement is also notable.

The Patriots were the only team to offer the former MVP a contract. Newton has undergone three surgeries since the beginning of the 2017 offseason — two shoulder procedures and the most recent foot operation — and has missed 16 of the past 18 games. And, excepting the first half of the 2018 season, Newton has struggled since Super Bowl 50. His cumulative QBR since the start of the 2016 season ranks 30th, so a Patriots future beyond 2020 cannot yet be considered a certainty.

But he should be on track to be the Pats’ Week 1 starter, giving him a chance to immediately revive his stock — something Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston are not expected to have, given their agreements to be backup quarterbacks this season. Dalton, Winston, Newton and Philip Rivers agreed to one-year deals, which could set up another rare buyer’s-market scenario at quarterback.

New England was prohibited from tagging Tom Brady this year, after the future Hall of Famer negotiated a deal that allowed him to leave in free agency without that bridge to cross. The Pats have gone year-to-year at quarterback for a bit now, with Brady not landing the extension he sought late in his 20-year New England run. Newton will need to answer some questions before the tag becomes an option, but this scenario will be on the table should the ex-Panthers centerpiece return to form.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Newton, Tua, Fins, Bills

The Patriots made a big splash last night when they signed former league MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract. The assumption is that Newton will be the team’s starting signal-caller, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says the Pats made no promises in that regard. Still, while there is technically an open competition between Newton and second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, it would be stunning if Newton did not win the job (video link). Garafolo also points out that Newton still has to pass a physical, but the Patriots are confident he will do so.

Garafolo also passes along a fun fact (via Twitter): New England is the third team in NFL history to lose one MVP and sign another in the same offseason. The 2000 Dolphins parted ways with Dan Marino and brought in Thurman Thomas, and the 2005 Cardinals bid farewell to Emmitt Smith and signed Kurt Warner.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the belief that he will be the franchise signal-caller the team has been seeking for the past 20 years. He may not start right away, but Albert Breer of SI.com believes the southpaw will be put into the starting lineup at some point this season. While the 2020 Dolphins should be an improved squad over last year’s iteration, Miami is still probably at least a year away from playoff contention, so the team will have no reason to keep Tagovailoa on the sidelines for the entire campaign.
  • Miami is set at the LG and C spots with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras, respectively. Beyond that, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins are still undecided as to whether second-round rookie Robert Hunt would be a better fit at RG or RT in 2020. If Hunt gets a shot at RT and performs well, that could bump 2019 starter Jesse Davis back to the interior or to the bench. Meanwhile, Michael Deiter will compete for the starting RG and backup C slots.
  • In the same piece linked above, Jackson notes that the Dolphins are working out WR Gary Jennings in the slot — where he thrived in college — and on the outside. Jennings was a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2019, but Seattle waived him in November and Miami scooped him up. He played in just one game for the ‘Fins before getting hurt, but his draft pedigree and upside will give him a good chance to make the club as the fifth or sixth WR.
  • In a minor trade last summer, the Bills acquired OL Ryan Bates from the Eagles in exchange for DE Eli Harold. Philadelphia subsequently cut Harold, but Buffalo hung on to Bates, who was active for nine games. Per Adam Caplan of InsideTheBirds.com, the Bills view Bates, a 2019 UDFA, as a viable right tackle, guard, and center, so they expect him to be a key backup in 2020 who may take on a bigger role down the road.
  • Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic, meanwhile, views Bates as a potential trade candidate. Buscaglia also looks at a few other players that the Bills could put on the trade market, a list headed by WR Robert Foster and TE Jason Croom.

Patriots Were Cam Newton’s Only Offer

The Patriots represented Cam Newton‘s one and only contract offer, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The Browns also showed recent interest, Schefter hears, but they did not put a deal on the table. 

[RELATED: Reactions To Cam Newton Signing With Patriots]

Several clubs were connected to Newton, but his free agency dragged on far longer than anyone expected. Now, we know why. Previously, we heard that the Chargers considered him, and Newton’s former head coach Ron Rivera at least thought about bringing him to the Redskins. Still, neither club presented a deal to Newton and his talks with the Browns “never really went anywhere,” per Schefter.

All along, Newton has been seeking an opportunity to start – ideally, with a contender. He found the perfect match in the Patriots, who were previously set to weigh the likes of Brian Hoyer and youngster Jarrett Stidham. With the Browns, Newton would have been entrenched as the QB2 behind Baker Mayfield, and that probably didn’t hold much appeal for him anyway.

With that lack of interest, the Patriots were able to land Newton for an absolute bargain. He can earn up to $7.5MM in 2020 through incentives, but his base salary is much, much lower.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions To Cam Newton Signing With Patriots

On Sunday, the Patriots found themselves a new quarterback. Former NFL MVP Cam Newton is coming to town, and he came to the Patriots on what appears to be a bargain deal. Newton’s contract can pay up to $7.5MM, but the pact comes with a low base salary and little in the way of locked-in money.

Technically speaking, Newton is one of five quarterbacks on the Patriots’ roster. However, he’s got the most impressive resume by a longshot, and he figures to be a monumental upgrade over Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, if he’s healthy.

Here’s what they’re saying about the Patriots’ newest QB:

  • Ultimately, Newton and the Patriots were the perfect match, Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com writes. The Pats were left thread-bare at quarterback after Tom Brady‘s departure and they represented Newton’s best chance at starting right out of the gate for a contender. For the Pats, he says it’s a no-risk deal – in a worst-case scenario, Newton gets injured early on and takes snaps away from Stidham. On the flipside, there’s the dream scenario in which Newton gets back to his old form and sticks around – the Pats are projected to have $86MM+ in cap space next year, should they want to re-sign him. With all of that said, Barnwell wonders whether the Patriots timed the signing to take some of the bad PR out of their other Sunday news story.
  • Speaking of the Patriots’ penalty, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes the hidden value in the Newton deal. If Newton plays well in 2020 and leaves as a free agent, the Patriots could gain a compensatory 2022 third-round pick to help offset the 2021 third-round pick that was stripped.
  • Jets safety Jamal Adams is also pleased with the deal, even though he’s under contract with the Patriots’ rival. “I salute Coach Bill Belichick for that!,” Adams tweeted. “That’s real. Congratulations Cam!” Adams, of course, is looking to force a trade to one of his preferred teams.
  • I’m excited as I don’t know what right now!,” Newton wrote on Instagram.