Patriots: Cam Newton’s contract fully shows team was ready for QB battle

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JUNE 16: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JUNE 16: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots decided to build for the future in the 2021 NFL Draft, using their highest first-round pick in decades to take a quarterback in Alabama’s Mac Jones. However, the rookie isn’t scheduled to see time in the 2021 season, at least at the beginning, due to the presence of Cam Newton.

With the Patriots ready to make a run at the postseason after an unprecedented offseason spending spree, Newton is trying to recapture the MVP form that he had with the Carolina Panthers. 

Jones will eventually end up as the starting quarterback, and the only question related to this is how long it will take before he ends up as the main man in Foxborough.

Considering the contract that they gave to Newton after last year, it seems like the Patriots were fully expecting Cam and somebody else to be locked into a quarterback battle.

Newton’s contract could be worth up to $14 million due to incentives, but he only has a $5 million base value.

The Patriots are barely tied to Newton financially, meaning that they could theoretically make Jones the starting quarterback if Newton ever starts to take a dip production-wise … or looks bad in training camp/the preseason.

Cam Newton and Mac Jones will be battling for the Patriots’ starting job.

Newton did surpass double digits in rushing touchdowns last year, and he was playing with a genuinely awful group of receivers in terms of field-stretching ability, but any quarterback that throws more interceptions than touchdowns in this day and age can’t look themselves in the mirror and say they played well.

Jones has a lot to learn in the pros, especially after transitioning from a very simplistic Alabama offense with tons of talent around him to a complex New England scheme. However, he’s deadly accurate to all levels of the field, and it might not take a full year before he is completely ready for primetime.

Josh McDaniels does have the tough task of creating two almost completely different game plans for Newton and Jones given their conflicting styles of play. If the run-heavy approach that involves using Newton’s legs doesn’t shine despite the additions of Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, and Nelson Agholor, they won’t be in too deep a financial hole if they send Newton to the bench.

The former MVP will get most of the first-team reps, but he needs to be aware that the Patriots won’t be giving him the longest of leashes. Keep an eye on Jones’ progress, as there’s a chance the rookie ends up overtaking Cam before the end of the season.