Patriots: Here’s why Cam Newton’s contract proves QB search might not be over
By Mike Luciano
Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots decided to go against the grain, fairly shocking the football world by bringing back Cam Newton on another one-year deal despite an uneven first season with the team in 2020.
Newton was intercepted more times (10) than he recorded a passing touchdown (eight) last season, but he did manage to add 12 touchdowns on the ground.
New England was also in possession of one of the worst wide receiver (and tight end) rooms in the league.
So take it with as many grains of salt as you’d like.
Newton’s contract could be worth up to as much as $14 million next season, but that doesn’t, and shouldn’t change the notion that New England could keep improving at the quarterback position.
Newton’s contract is heavily based on incentives, meaning that he’s gambling on himself again. With such a team-friendly deal, New England might add some more competition for Newton as a backup.
Is Cam Newton still “the guy” for the Patriots?
The Patriots own the No. 15 pick in the 2021 Draft, meaning that they could select a player like Alabama’s Mac Jones. Adding a veteran with a few more rings on his stump might also be a worthy acquisition.
While the Patriots reportedly kicked the tires on 2014 draft pick and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, nothing truly materialized … yet. However, with veterans like Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew or reclamation projects like former top pick Marcus Mariota likely available via trade, New England may not be stopping at Cam.
He’s far from a sure thing, especially because not all of his struggles last year can simply be chalked up to poor support around him. He was a bit gun-shy when it came to going downfield, and his injuries appear to have robbed a bit of his arm strength. If New England can find an upgrade over him, they very well might jump at the opportunity.
But for now, they have their QB situation settled, in a sense, heading into free agency. Newton could help the Patriots improve in the short term, but he isn’t a long-term solution given how he’s aging and has had some crushing injuries.
Though he might be the starter for now heading into 2021, Belichick has to consider the potential for some newer, younger blood to potentially come in and compete with the former MVP.