Ryan L. Fox
It seemed when Tom Brady left New England to take his talents down to Tampa Bay, Florida, there were a lot of questions by fans and media alike as to who would be the one to take snaps under center for the Patriots in the 2020 NFL season. Was it gonna be the ‘anointed heir apparent’ in 2nd-year QB Jarred Stidham, whom a lot of the Patriots media cartel tried to pump up or was it gonna be the journeyman QB Brian Hoyer taking over in a bridge/tank-sort of year?
But then on a rainy, stormy Sunday night last week, the Patriots grabbed headlines when it was announced that the team agreed to terms with the former 2015 NFL MVP and 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton to play for the Patriots in the upcoming 2020 NFL season. Yup you read that right folks, Superman is coming to Foxborough.
Now you often hear the phrase “It’s a win-win for both sides” and normally people will either agree or roll their eyes. But when it comes to Cam and the Pats, it really is a win-win situation for both parties.
For Cam Newton, this situation is a definite win for him.
With the New England offense, Cam will definitely have more weapons to throw to compared to during his time with the Carolina Panthers. Say what you want about the Patriots WR corp (i.e. Julian Edelman, N’keal Harry, Jakobi Myers, Mohammed Sanu), they are a definite upgrade over the Panthers WR corp. Plus they have a good offensive line anchored by vets (i.e. Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon), which will give Cam the protection that he needs in order to get the ball to the receiver without getting killed.
Also, Cam will be in an offense with not just a proven coach in Josh McDaniels, he will be in an offense that can be tailored to his abilities. Remember, McDaniels was in favor of an offense centered around a mobile QB in his time in Denver back in 2010 (hence why he drafted Tim Tebow). And he was all in taking Lamar Jackson back in 2018 before Bill Belichick decided to go with Georgia RB Sony Michel instead. Plus the style of offense that the Patriots run is based off of getting the ball out to the receivers and backs. Cam won’t have to worry about extending the play, thus exposing him to getting walloped by a lineman or linebacker.
Lastly, Cam would have a better shot of the playoffs playing for the Patriots rather than the Panthers at this point in time. Whether you like them or not, the Patriots have been the most successful football team for the last two decades and have been in the playoffs almost every year and pretty much been in the Super Bowl about half time (9 times to be exact). Compared to the Panthers, who are practically in rebuilding mode with a new coach and in what is a difficult NFC South division, the Patriots still have key players on both offense and defense, play in a winnable AFC East division, and in an AFC conference where they are essentiall 1 of 3 teams (the others being Baltimore Ravens & Kansas City Chiefs) that have a chance to be in the Super Bowl for the AFC.
Now for the Patriots, well…it’s a no brainer that this deal is a win for them.
First off, a healthy Cam Newton is a definite upgrade over the QBs that are currently on the Patriots roster (i.e. Stidham, Hoyer, Cody Kessler). Cam is bigger, more mobile, has a stronger arm, and has tremendous big-play abilities. He isn’t just some late-round JAG quarterback either. Cam is a 3x Pro Bowler, former NFL MVP, and played in a Super Bowl back in 2015. Big time upgrade over the other QBs on the roster. With a player of that caliber taking snaps under center, the Patriots are still relevant in playoff talks as well as being potential Super Bowl contenders.
Now here comes the best part of this whole thing is the contract itself.
When the news broke of the deal, we kept hearing about how it was a essentially a 1-year, veterans minimum ‘prove-it’ type of deals with built in incentives (i.e. passing yards, touchdowns, QB rating, etc.) that could raise the final contract as much as $7.5 million.
Now that the actual terms came out, it’s practically a steal for the Pats.
It’s a 1 yr/ $1.75 million deal with $550k guaranteed at signing that includes $6.5 million in incentives, bringing the total to $8.25 million should Cam hit all his incentives. Best part of the contract is that it doesn’t count too much against the cap-strained Patriots ($1.1375 million cap hit) and if things don’t work, it’ll just cost the Pats $550k in dead cap value should they cut him.
There are some people (*cough* *cough* Richard Sherman *cough* *cough*) who view the Patriots’ contract as unfair and penny-pinching to a former NFL MVP. Then there are other people who question Cam’s mentality and maturity (i.e. not diving on a fumble in Super Bowl L and calling out a female reporter).
Regardless of what the doubters say, this move by the Patriots could prove beneficial in an unconventional year. If things don’t turn out the way head coach & de facto GM Bill Belichick had envisioned, then it won’t cost the team anything should they release Newton. But if things go the way they are supposed to, both sides can benefit it from it. Bill proves he can still be successful without Brady at quarterback and Cam can silence the doubters and prove he can still play at an elite level in the NFL.
Like I said, win-win.
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