The New England Patriots are re-signing veteran quarterback Cam Newton on a one-year deal according to The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the contract is worth around $14 million, but it won’t prevent the Patriots from taking a young quarterback in the draft. Newton originally joined New England on an incentive-laden contract last offseason following Tom Brady’s departure.
Comp update: Patriots are finalizing a 1-year deal worth close to $14 million for Cam Newton to return to New England, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2021
ESPN’s Mike Reiss added that six million of Newton’s new deal is tied to honors and how deep the Patriots make it in the playoffs.
The former Heisman Trophy winner expressed his interest in re-signing with New England as early as February. In response to whether or not he wanted to stay with Bill Belichick’s team, Newton told the “I Am Athlete” podcast,
“Yes, hell yes. I’m getting tired of changing, bro. I’m getting to a point in my career where I know way more than I knew last year.”
“Doughboy [N’Keal Harry] knows me,” Newton continued. “Jakobi [Meyers] knows me. Bud [Damiere Byrd] knows me. The young tight ends know me. The younger guys that are going to come in know me. Like, we’re still trying to flush out the 20 years of how it used to be. And I’m going in and I’m saying, ‘That’s not me.’”
Newton turns 32 in May. The former MVP showed he still had gas left in the tank last season, but it was a rocky road. Newton missed Week 4 with COVID-19 and threw five interceptions in his first two games back. New England went 7-9, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
While Newton only threw for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and ten interceptions in 2020, he can’t take the blame for New England’s decline. Marcus Cannon opted out of the season. Julian Edelman only appeared in six games, making one start. David Andrews missed four weeks. The team’s two leading receivers, Byrd and Meyers, weren’t drafted out of college.
New England has talent issues at its skill positions. Luckily, the team has somewhere in the range of $66-68 million in cap space and five picks in the top 140 selections of the upcoming draft. According to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, New England’s wide receivers ranked 30th in receiving yards and last in receiving touchdowns in 2020. The team’s tight ends didn’t fare any better, finishing 31st in yards, last in receptions, and tied for last in touchdowns.
One area the Patriots seem comfortable with is their offensive line. Despite Andrews and Joe Thuney entering free agency, New England has one of the best collections of young talent up front in the NFL. The Patriots showed their prowess in run blocking last season, helping Newton gain 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on 137 carries (4.3 yards per attempt).
No one expects Newton to turn back the clock this coming fall, but the Auburn product gives New England a stable alternative to 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham. His return won’t prevent them from planning for the future and pursuing younger assets either. This is a temporary marriage that has and should continue to benefit both parties.