Just when people started to count them out, Bill Belichick and the Patriots struck again. New England signed Cam Newton to a one-year, $7.5 million contract on June 28th. Most of that $7.5 million are made up of incentives, as only $550 thousand is guaranteed. This is a very low-risk, high reward situation for the Patriots, who are committing less money to the quarterback position this year than any other NFL team.
What Cam Newton Brings to the Patriots
In his prime, Newton is a quarterback, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Standing at 6’5 and 245 lbs, Newton towers over all other dual-threat quarterbacks in the league. The Auburn product completes roughly 60% percent of his passes while averaging a 25:13 touchdown to interception ratio per year. Newton is also an elite rusher, averaging 500 yards and six touchdowns on the ground each year.
While some may question how Newton fits into the “Patriot Way,” the two share a common trait: winning. In his final year at Auburn, Newton won the Heisman and BCS National Championship. The former #1 overall pick also won the NFL MVP in 2015, where he threw for 35 touchdowns and rushed for ten more and 636 additional yards.
Newton is now teaming up with arguably the greatest head coach in NFL history in Bill Belichick and one of football’s most ingenious offensive coordinators in Josh McDaniels. Not to mention that if New England’s offensive line can stay healthy, it will be far superior to any group Newton played behind in Carolina. There is seemingly endless potential for Newton with the Patriots.
While Newton dominated the league from 2011-17, he hasn’t been fully healthy in over two years. Foot and shoulder injuries have plagued his last few seasons, and there is no guarantee that he’ll even be healthy enough to win the starting job from Jarrett Stidham. There’s a reason why 30 NFL teams chose not to reach out to the former MVP (New England and Cleveland were the only teams that expressed interest).
That being said, Newton has meticulously documented his recovery on his Instagram, and adamantly believes that he is 100% healthy. His NFL colleagues believe so too, as many of them expressed their excitement for Newton’s return on Twitter after the deal was announced.
In reality, no one knows the extent of Newton’s health except for the quarterback himself. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on as the season nears.
If Newton is fully healthy, he makes the Patriots a playoff contender at the very least, with Super Bowl potential. Newton — who is only 31 — has had almost two full years to rehab and prepare. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will have a field day structuring their offense around a healthy Newton, and the weapons that New England possesses would certainly complement Newton’s playstyle. Marqise Lee and Damiere Byrd provide a legitimate deep-threat. Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and N’Keal Harry are consistent intermediate targets. It cannot be stressed enough that health is the most significant factor here. However, when 100%, Cam Newton elevates the Patriots’ potential to another level.
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