The Cam Newton signing was a no-brainer for Bill Belichick and the Patriots as he lands in a solid system with very little coaching changes.
For Newton, he became a free agent at the wrong time during a worldwide pandemic, costing him the opportunity for teams to see him perform and see his health records. To put all of the organizations at ease, teams filled the quarterback position elsewhere.
The Patriots entered this past weekend with under $1 million in cap space and will sneak Newton on to the roster with a bare minimum base deal that could be worth up to $7.5 million in incentives. Meanwhile, Tom Brady is going to cost the Patriots far more against the cap ($13.4 million) than Newton, Brian Hoyer, and Jarrett Stidham combined.
This signing has nothing to do with Stidham or his ability to play in the NFL. This is about Belichick taking advantage of incredible value if Newton stays healthy.
The Patriots now have a solid quarterback and a legitimate interior offensive line in Shaq Mason, David Andrews, and Joe Thuney, which could make life difficult on defenses during run-pass option plays. And for all the struggles the Patriots’ offense had late last year, a wideout group of Julian Edelman, a healthier Mohamed Sanu, and 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry is no worse than the crews Newton rolled with in Carolina. In fact, this core of players can beat his best crew in Carolina.
As great as Newton was in 2015, nearly everything since has been a letdown. He played like an average quarterback in 2016 but never had the talent built around him to make a solid run. Then, in 2017-18, a shoulder injury halted him while a nagging foot injury derailed him last season.
In New England, Newton will play around one of the league’s most consistent offensive lines. The team has good depth in the running back and fullback positions, and the team has a solid core of wide receivers even though it needs time and development.
After spending most of his career under Mike Shula in Carolina, Newton will play for a coaching staff that has proven they can maximize strengths and cover up weaknesses, including when Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett started games.
A legitimate chance to play meaningful games under a stable coaching staff is all Newton could have hoped for in his cursed 2020 offseason. If the former MVP is going to evolve and thrive in his 30s like the last quarterback to start for the Patriots, he couldn’t have found a better place to do it than Foxborough.