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Patriots sign QB Cam Newton

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It turns out that the New England Patriots might have a former MVP under center this season after all.

It won’t be Tom Brady, of course; the longtime Patriot has moved on to Tampa and will be playing for the Buccaneers this season. Instead, Pats fans may have the opportunity to watch Cam Newton do his thing from the quarterback position.

Newton, who was named the league’s MVP in 2015, parted ways with the Carolina Panthers – his only NFL home – back in March. Newton has struggled with injuries in recent years, most recently missing the vast majority of the 2019 season due to a Lisfranc injury. He has been given a clean bill of health with regards to the Lisfranc and an earlier shoulder issue, but teams were still reticent to sign him.

New England, with 2019 fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham and veteran backup Brian Hoyer topping the depth chart following Brady’s departure, was ideally suited to take a flier on the increasingly fragile but still wildly talented Newton. According to reports, the team signed him to a one-year deal for a low base salary, but loads of incentives – the sort of make-good deal that could lead to greater free agent riches for Newton going forward.

Obviously, replacing a legend like Brady is an impossible task. The guy won six rings and is at or near the top of every meaningful all-time passing list. He’s the GOAT. Anybody following that is going to be a letdown by definition.

That being said, there are worse guys to have show up than Newton. Before 2019, he had never failed to make fewer than 14 starts in a season. The statistics for his 125 games over nine seasons are impressive on their face – 29,041 yards and 182 TDs against 108 INTs along with just over 4,800 yards and 58 TDs on the ground. Those are quality numbers no matter who you ask.

Now, Newton’s numbers haven’t been as impressive over the past few seasons. There’s a reason that the Panthers were willing to move on, just like there’s a reason that it has taken this long for him to sign with anyone. It’s definitely a roll of the dice.

But it’s a low-risk roll.

There’s a real chance that Newton doesn’t bounce back from his injuries. Lisfranc issues are notorious for hampering mobility and movement is a major part of Newton’s game. There’s also a possibility that Newton doesn’t fit in well with the offensive scheme of Josh McDaniel. There are a dozen reasons that it just won’t work.

But … what if it does?

Newton brings a completely different energy to the quarterback position. If he proves able to regain even a significant fraction of his performance, he could take hold of the starting job for the Pats and the projected New England setback just doesn’t happen. A capable Newton could put the Pats right back at the top of the AFC.

Pats fans are going to miss Brady, of course. He’s been the QB for a generation; legions of fans have never experienced a world in which TB12 isn’t under center. But even the most impassioned Brady zealots will have to concede that the upcoming season’s potential has gotten considerably more interesting.

Welcome aboard, Cam.

Last modified on Thursday, 02 July 2020 07:37

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