Cam Newton signs with Patriots

Cam Newton

Cam Newton signs with  Patriots
July 08
14:15 2020

It happened a lot later than I expected it to, but Cam Newton has finally signed with an NFL team. The Patriots, which is the most stable franchise in the league, took a chance on Newton and he looks to be the starter from day one.

After spending nine years as a Carolina Panther, the team decided to go in a different direction by signing Teddy Bridgewater in the off season. Newton has dealt with a myriad of injuries over the last few years, but at only 31 years of age, presumably he still has a few quality years left in the tank.

If Newton is healthy, he could have a resurgence to his career. His bruising playing style led to several injuries and I assume Carolina felt more comfortable with Bridgewater moving forward.  

Bridgewater is more of a pocket passer and is four years younger than Newton. While Bridgewater has had a major knee injury, he had the chance to show he has fully recovered when he started for Drew Brees last season with the Saints. Another high note is that he went 5-0 in those starts as well.

I know the decision to cut Newton was an unpopular one for Panther fans as Newton was probably the best player to ever play for the franchise. He was also a fan favorite on and off the field with his infectious personality and his philanthropic work in the community.  

Newton has posted several videos of him working out in preparation for the upcoming season. I expected when the news hit in March that he had been released, that several teams would be lining up to at least have the former MVP come in for a workout, but that was not the case.

I don’t know if it was the COVID-19 pandemic or some other reason that made teams shy away from bringing Newton in. If I were a general manager for another team, what could it hurt to see what the guy has left in his arm during a workout session? But according to sources, Newton only had two teams who were seriously interested in his services and the Patriots pulled the trigger.

After losing Tom Brady in free agency, everyone expected the Patriots to either take a quarterback in the draft or sign a quality-free agent starter at the beginning of the signing period. But Bill Belichick, who is one of the craftier general managers as well as being a great coach, waited until all the dust settled and scooped Newton for a bargain price.

Belichick continually stated that he and his coaching staff were more than confident in second year pro Jarrett Stidham, but I think everyone knew that Belichick had a master plan in place. My question is why was there so little interest in Newton for him to stay available so long?

Off the top of my head, I can think of about four or five teams that Newton could vie for a starting position and there are countless others where he would be a valued backup. I guess that is a missed opportunity for the rest of the league and a win-win for the Patriots and Newton.

For Newton, he gets the chance to play for a six time Super Bowl winning coach and for Belichick, he has a quarterback with the necessary skillset to possibly take them back to another Super Bowl in the near future. New England gets the biggest benefit, because they signed Newton to a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million if he hits certain incentives. So, the risk is very low for the Patriots and the reward could be very high.

I personally think Josh McDaniels is the happiest person on the Patriots coaching staff right about now. When he was the head coach of the Denver Broncos, he manufactured a playbook that highlighted Tim Tebow’s skillset that led them all the way to the playoffs and a playoff win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now that McDaniels has another running quarterback who can also push the ball downfield, the playbook just became wide open.

I just wonder if the Panthers gave up on Newton too early. I personally didn’t like how they attempted to make it seem that Newton was looking for opportunities elsewhere, when they were the initiators of the process. Newton brought a lot to the Panthers during his tenure and I felt he deserved a classier exit than what he was afforded.  

I wrote a column about the possibility of the Panthers trading Newton before he sustained his latest injury. I thought they should have explored trade options at that juncture, but since he was hurt the majority of last season, trading him was not a reality. I think the Panthers would have been better suited to keep Newton for another year to see how he performed and make a decision after that, but I guess they did not want to miss out on the chance to bring in Bridgewater.

Either way, time will tell whether or not that was a good move to release Newton by the Panthers. But one thing is for sure, if he has anything left in him, the Patriots will utilize everything he has to offer. I hope this does not come back to bite the Panthers in the long run, but we shall see.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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