There are two main reasons why Newton, a former league MVP was signed by the Patriots so late in the off-season.
First, Newton was released by the Carolina Panthers two weeks into the free agency period. He was counting $20M against their cap for a QB that they were uncertain was going to play to the level he did in 2018 before the rash of injuries. They certainly didn’t do Cam Newton any favors. Many QB’s already found new homes. As free agency went on the number of available starting jobs had dwindled to just a couple. I would think New England and Los Angeles Chargers were it and it appeared the Chargers were settled on Tyrod Taylor. That left New England. All off season we constantly heard how pleased the Patriots were with Jared Stidham. Many of the beat writers were fed info from Patriots sources. They were used. What happened is the Patriots waited out Newton and his price dropped to where it became a reasonable gamble to take on Newton. The price was right and the Patriots pounced. This is a low cost high ceiling gamble. The Patriots can actually fit Newton under the cap without a subsequent corresponding transaction.
Secondly, Newton has been hurt each of the past three seasons, losing almost all of last season to a Lisfranc foot injury. This is a painful injury that is sometimes hard to diagnose and is confused with a foot sprain. Newton also had two shoulder injuries, one which he need off season surgery. How has Newton recovered from these injuries? Many team shied away from Newton because of the injuries. How much access were teams granted to his medical reports? Were teams able to have him examined by their own physicians? Newton posted some impressive workout videos on his Instagram account.
What are we to expect? Newton’s style doesn’t exactly fit the Patriots Way. He takes the clock right down to the last second. He calls his own number way too much, exposing him to un-necessary hits. His legs are what has made him a threat. What if the Patriots told him they don’t want him running that often? The Patriots by all accounts are gearing up for a more intense running game this year (two new TE’s, new FB, return of starting center David Andrews and the retention of Joe Thuney under the Franchise tag. They signed Newton to a one year show me contract laden with incentives. No risk on their part. In 2018 Newton completed more than 60% of his passes for the 1st time in his career. Christian McCaffery was on the receiving end of a lot of short passes. Newton has James White and Julian Edelman to throw those short passes to. Newton has a strong arm and can throw the ball downfield, something Tom Brady couldn’t do. Opposing defenses won’t be able to play the 20 yard box against Newton. Even if the Patriots don’t let Newton run those Run Pass Option plays, he has that escape ability to get out of the pocket and scramble for first downs.
Are the Patriots dissatisfied with Jared Stidham? Stidham recently attended a wedding in Texas. The Patriots may not have been too pleased he went, given the spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas. Could that be a factor?
Newton is full of personality and he is a reporter’s joy. That isn’t the way the Patriots run. This should be an interesting camp to see what Newton has left in the tank! It will be interesting to see how Josh MacDaniel will deploy his newest weapon.
More Patriots News Headlines: