Patriots insider believes NE still eyeing star QB after Cam Newton deal

Patriots QB Cam Newton (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Patriots QB Cam Newton (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots made a fairly surprising move on Friday when they re-signed quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year deal worth up to a reported $14 million.

While rumors linked Newton to the Patriots, there was speculation about whether a deal would get done after he grossly underperformed under center last season.

For context, the 31-year-old finished 34th in passing touchdowns (eight), 30th in QBR (47.0) and 28th in passer rating (82.9).

With that in mind, it wasn’t surprising that follow-up reports suggested the Patriots aren’t done adding to their quarterback room, but most fans just assumed that meant they would either sign a veteran in free agency to be the backup or draft a prospect and groom him under Newton.

According to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston, however, the Patriots might be scheming to land 49ers signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo (!) behind the scenes.

Are…are these rumors really not dead yet?

The Patriots considering a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo after signing Cam Newton would be insane.

It’s duly noted that Newton struggled at times last season, but rostering two star-caliber quarterbacks would make zero sense in our eyes, especially when you consider that the Patriots would likely have to give up assets to pry Garoppolo from the 49ers.

There was buzz indicating that the 49ers could end up releasing Garoppolo this offseason if they stumbled across an upgrade. While that’s still in the realm of possibility, however, it doesn’t seem likely at this stage given the lack of noise coming out of San Francisco.

The Patriots simply couldn’t afford to wait around for Garoppolo to become available, so they signed Newton to a contract that, while not necessarily lucrative, has a $9 million incentive package that is presumably based around him being the starter. If that’s the case, why waste more cap space bringing Jimmy G into the fold?

This isn’t to say New England shouldn’t sign or draft a viable backup option. Anything less would be moronic based on how Newton performed in 2020. However, they also wouldn’t have re-signed him if they didn’t think extenuating circumstances contributed to his struggles.

For those who forget, Newton was tasked with mastering an entirely new playbook after signing just before the start of training camp last offseason. The former MVP was also working with the worst receiving corps in the league and tested positive for COVID-19, which forced him to be away from the team for two weeks, just as he was finding a rhythm.

There were also questions about whether Newton’s surgically-repaired shoulder was compromised. Looking back at some of his egregious underthrows, you can’t rule out the possibility that he was still feeling the post-op effects.

Bottom line? The Patriots wouldn’t have re-signed Newton if they didn’t believe he has major potential for improvement, so we wouldn’t read too much into the Garoppolo buzz unless some of the league’s esteemed insiders come forward and hint that a trade is on the horizon.