The Cam Newton free agency saga came to a close Sunday night.
Former NFL MVP Cam Newton has reached agreement on a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the New England Patriots, league sources tell @mortreport and me.
Newton now will step into the mix to try to help replace former Patriots’ QB Tom Brady.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 28, 2020
Now, the chatter can officially begin.
In classic New England fashion, the Patriots swooped in at the last minute and struck a 1-year deal with former NFL MVP Cam Newton over the weekend, worth up to $7.5 million.
Our Jay Glazer expanded upon the deal on Sunday.
“Very Patriots-like deal. Very, very low-risk for them … but a high-reward. How many times have we seen Bill Belichick take an older player and reignite them and put more gas in their tank, extend their career and get a lot of mileage out of them toward the end of their career? We’ve seen it over and over and over again. Wouldn’t be surprised if he does it with Cam Newton.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) June 29, 2020
After the Patriots signed Newton, NFL players immediately began to share their thoughts on Twitter, with most expressing excitement for Newton’s return.
@CameronNewton U been workin! U deserve tht! SWEAAAAAH!!! 😭😭😭
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) June 29, 2020
I salute Coach Bill Belichick for that!
That’s Real. Congratulations Cam!
— Jamal Adams (@Prez) June 29, 2020
— Christian McCaffrey (@CMC_22) June 29, 2020
We all saw it comin… 👀👀 AFC issues now 🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️🤷🏽♂️ Healthy Newton a PROBLEM https://t.co/AWeJpwzolD
— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) June 29, 2020
Couldn’t be happier for @CameronNewton! Patriots are getting a stud!! 👏👏👏
— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen88) June 29, 2020
— The Gilly Lock (@BumpNrunGilm0re) June 29, 2020
Cam getting signed is the best news any of us has heard in a very long time!!!
— Jonathan Stewart (@Jonathanstewar1) June 29, 2020
However, one NFL superstar was not thrilled over the terms of the deal.
How many former League MVPs have had to sign for the min? (Asking for a friend.) just ridiculous. A transcendent talent and less talented QBs are getting 15/16m a year. Disgusting https://t.co/eZycGL8qkZ
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) June 29, 2020
Richard Sherman has never been one to mince words, and on Monday morning, it was the sports pundits’ turn to chime in, including our Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe.
Bayless said that a “desperate” Bill Belichick made the right move by bringing in Newton because second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham would not be able to handle the pressure of stepping in for Tom Brady.
“What do I think of this overall move? I thought it was, finally, a very good move by Bill Belichick, but I still don’t think they will be a very good team … Bill just helped his cause a whole lot. In fact, I’m gonna say he improved by five games, but I thought they were looking at 4-12 with [Jarrett Stidham] as the quarterback.”
“I will give you this: Cam Newton is the perfect possible replacement for Tom Brady. He will not be afraid of that challenge. There are only a handful of quarterbacks who could step into those shoes in Foxborough and be ok with the pressure.”@RealSkipBayless pic.twitter.com/5ZyyHXpmyq
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) June 29, 2020
Bayless, however, still has his doubts as to just how productive Newton will be in New England, given we haven’t seen a healthy version of the 2015 MVP in over a year.
“I’m not quite sure we’ll ever see 2015 Cam again because he died for [Carolina’s] cause. The stat is that since 2011, his first year in the league, no quarterback has taken more hits. He’s just runaway with most hits taken, over the last nine years, of any quarterback in the National Football League … He wound up with a bum shoulder – surgery for that. And then the surgery on the foot. And I’m not sure how right he is right now.”
The numbers don’t lie – Newton has indeed taken a boatload of hits during his highlight-heavy nine professional seasons.
Newton, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, has been contacted (sacked or hit while throwing or rushing) 1,304 times since 2011. Seattle’s Russell Wilson is second at 942. Rodgers is at 669.
Since 2006, Newton has taken far more hits (10.0) per game than any other quarterback. Wilson is second at 7.5, followed by Dak Prescott at 6.1 and Andrew Luck at 6.0.
When this dude is healthy LOOK OUT!
(and it looks like this dude is healthy)pic.twitter.com/4SKyUjSlFu
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) June 29, 2020
Sharpe, similar to Bayless, believes the Patriots upgraded at the QB position by signing a “motivated” Newton, but wants to see how healthy Cam is coming into the 2020 season.
“How healthy is Cam? Over the last several years, Cam has been injured … When you go out there, people don’t care what it took for you to get out there. All they see is No. 1, they see ‘Newton’ on the back, and they expect those Superman-ish type plays. Well, he hasn’t been able to give them to them for awhile for the simple fact that he’s injured. I believe this works out really well for both sides … He is motivated.”
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) June 29, 2020
Both Bayless and Sharpe discussed the possibility that Newton could potentially begin the season behind Stidham on the Patriots’ QB depth chart.
Since Tom Brady’s departure, despite his lack of experience – Stidham only threw four passes as a rookie last season – it’s been assumed that Stidham would be the heir apparent in New England.
NFL reporter Mike Reiss addressed the starting quarterback quandary in New England Monday morning on ESPN’s Get Up.
“I think you have to put Cam at the top of the [depth chart] based on his body of work. That being said, Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer have more experience in this system, so you balance those two factors, but based on the body of work, I think you have to put Cam at the top of the list.”
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) June 29, 2020
After Reiss weighed in on what the battle for the starting position might look like, former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth shared his expectations for the Patriots in 2020 with Newton in the fold.
“When you sign Cam Newton, you’re not signing a player as much as you’re signing an entire offense, which is what he was for the Panthers. He was their whole offense. And I think there’s a similar situation in New England right now, where they don’t have a bunch of big, playmaking skill position guys. But you put Cam behind that offensive line with some smart coaching and a great defense, and all of a sudden, you become a realistic Super Bowl contender … As long as Cam is healthy, I think he is talented enough to bring that offense to average or above average. And if that defense can repeat as one of the best in the league, yes, they are a realistic Super Bowl contender.”
“All of a sudden [the Patriots became] a realistic Super Bowl contender, when just yesterday I would have said that they weren’t going to make the playoffs.”
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 29, 2020
The Patriots’ defense was indeed a juggernaut last season, finishing the year as the No. 1 ranked defense in all of football. It allowed a league-low 275.9 yards per game and 14.1 points per game, also an NFL-low.
However, not all are convinced that even a healthy Newton can do wonders in New England, a franchise coming off of 20 years under the on-field leadership of Brady, who most consider the greatest quarterback of all-time.
On Monday, Colin Cowherd said that Newton’s transition into the New England system might be the most difficult task of his football career.
“In Carolina, he was the No. 1 pick and it had to work. And they really built everything around Cam … At Auburn, at junior college, and at Carolina, the system was built for Cam. He was Panther football. That’s not the way it works [in New England]. They got a system. They won way more than Cam without him. There’s no coddling. They’re not building it for him … That’s not gonna be easy for Cam. Now, I think he’s talented enough that he’ll just make plays … but it’s different now.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 29, 2020
In Cowherd’s estimation, Newton won’t be in a long-term relationship with the Patriots, and the 31-year old QB should use the 2020 season as an audition for other teams.
“What kind of commitment does New England have? … It’s a 1-year deal. If I said to you, ‘Cam Newton. New England.’ Do you think it’s a relationship in 10 years? No … I think the best Cam Newton can do is show he’s healthy, show he’s focused, add a little sizzle to kind of a rigid, not-very-dynamic offense, and then, I think in a year from now, the market will open up for people and they’ll say, ‘Alright, he’s 32 years old and he looks healthy.’”
Aside from all of the opinion flooding in, Newton is ready to get to work, as evidenced by his personal social media response to landing in New England.
— Cameron 1 Newton (@CameronNewton) June 29, 2020
Belichick – Newton. 2020.
The football world awaits.