On Sunday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that Cam Newton agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. The former MVP endured a long wait in free agency before finally finding his new home for the 2020 season. Now, Newton joins forces with Bill Belichick as the Patriots prepare for life without Tom Brady.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Newton’s deal is worth the bare minimum, but the veteran quarterback could earn up to $7.5 million if he fulfills all of the contract’s incentives. This format provides the Patriots with a form of risk prevention, ensuring the team doesn’t expend too much money if Newton gets injured or plays poorly.
Newton joins a roster that already features veteran Brian Hoyer and 2019 fourth-round selection, Jarrett Stidham. Stidham played at Newton’s alma mater, Auburn, for the final two seasons of his collegiate career. Before the Newton signing, most analysts believed New England would start Stidham while having Hoyer, who spent previous seasons with the Patriots, tutor the young prospect.
However, Sunday night’s news changes New England’s outlook for the 2020 season. Newton led the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons and even got the team to Super Bowl 50. That year, the Panthers went 15-1, and Newton captured the league MVP. Unfortunately, he hasn’t matched that magical season since.
In 2019, the Panthers placed Newton on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury. He only appeared in two games during the year. After 13 weeks, the Panthers fired Head Coach Ron Rivera. The team hired Baylor’s Matt Rhule this offseason and eventually released Newton, clearing $19.1 million in cap space.
The Patriots don’t seem interested in Newton as a long-term solution to replacing Brady, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. However, the former Panther can bring some stability to New England’s offense as Belichick and the Patriots hunt for their twelfth consecutive AFC East division title.
Sunday night, Schefter also broke the news that the NFL is punishing New England for filming a game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns in December. As punishment for filming the sidelines, the Patriots face a $1.1 million fine, they lose a 2021 third-round draft pick, and the team’s TV crews cannot shoot games during the upcoming season.