Just a few days after the Patriots signed quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year deal, many are wondering what will happen to the team this upcoming season, and whether this veteran quarterback can fit into head coach Bill Belichick’s system. With nine years under his belt in the NFL, Newton brings experience and, what some experts believe, a desire to redeem himself.
“The risk of the signing is low and the potential reward astronomical. The doubts feel almost obligatory,” wrote ESPN’s Tim Keown, adding: “If Newton is healthy, he can win — and when you strip the Patriot Way of all its lore and varnish, that’s really all that’s left. Winning by whatever means necessary is the Way — the only Way, all of which is to say, whatever happens from here forward figures to tell us more about Bill Belichick than it does Cam Newton.”
After the terms of his contract were reportedly revealed on Thursday, Newton posted on Instagram that, “this is not about the money for me, it’s about respect.” It’s his attitude, one that has shown defiance in the past, that has some experts hesitant on whether he, and his on-field antics, will fly with Belichick.
Meanwhile, others think that Newton won’t start during Week 1 against the Dolphins on September 13 — including an AFC head coach, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
“I spoke over text w/ an AFC East Head Coach on Cam Newton and the Patriots. “I think they are going to keep 3 QBs. Use Cam Newton perhaps as the wild card. I actually don’t see him starting Week 1 in the offense…I know one thing for a fact: the #Patriots love Jarrett Stidham”
I spoke over text w/ an AFC East Head Coach on Cam Newton and the Patriots. “I think they are going to keep 3 QBs. Use Cam Newton perhaps as the wild card. I actually don't see him starting Week 1 in the offense…I know one thing for a fact: the #Patriots love Jarrett Stidham"
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) July 1, 2020
Here is what other NFL experts are saying about the Newton signing:
Adam Schefter, ESPN: “Jarrett Stidham is a guy, again, they have on the rookie contract So, they got all these quarterbacks together, together they’re not paying them very much — why not take that chance on Cam? I think they view Stidham as part of their future, but they’ve got Cam on a one-year deal right now.”
“Cam didn’t have interest elsewhere. That’s why [he’s in New England]. Period.”
Nate Davis, USA Today: “Super Bowl-era dynasties don’t sustain themselves once the quarterback leaves…And then there’s the question of how effectively Newton can subsume his ego amid a culture where the collective famously trumps the individual.
“Darrelle Revis, Stephon Gilmore, Corey Dillon, and Randy Moss (for a time) are among those who successfully assimilated in Foxborough. But other previously established stars – Chad Ochocinco, Reggie Wayne, Adalius Thomas, Michael Bennett – failed to fit in, some bridling against the culture.
“The Panthers largely revolved around Newton for most of his tenure, enabling his peccadilloes at times. It remains to be seen how well a 31-year-old who enjoys the limelight and social media – descriptors that could also fit Brady – melds cold turkey while also faced with the learning curve that exists whenever one joins a new team.”
Jay Glazer, The Athletic: “Newton to the Patriots is so, um, well, Patriots-like. A low-risk contract with a potential high reward if he returns to form. How many times have we seen veterans who seemed to be on their last legs go to the Patriots and then shine again? Bill Belichick has reignited the careers of many and it would not be surprising if he does it again with Newton.”
Michael Felger, 985 Sports Hub: “How about culture? Even something as simple and seemingly innocuous as the dabbing, the Superman-ing, all the celebrating and the showboating on the field — they don’t want you doing that here [in Boston]. Cam Newton has celebrated more than any player in the league maybe over the last decade, something as simple and innocuous as that.”
Shalise Manza Young, Yahoo Sports: “This shouldn’t need to be said, but Newton’s wardrobe off the field has zero effect on what he does on the field. You may not like his style or want to emulate it, but not every man aspires to look as basic as a mannequin in JCPenney’s men’s department. The idea that how Newton dresses means he shouldn’t be on the Patriots’ roster or won’t fit in is absurd at best.
“The Patriots’ ‘culture’ is winning and focusing on the steps that need to be taken in pursuit of winning. Yes, Belichick doesn’t want players still celebrating a Week 4 win on Wednesday when there’s a Week 5 game to prepare for. But Belichick has no problem with celebrating touchdowns and big plays.”
Darryl Slater, NJ.com: “Can [Bill Belichick] win another Super Bowl — and do it without the best quarterback in NFL history? That’s the big question confronting Belichick — and Cam Newton — in 2020, as Tom Brady begins the second chapter of his career in Tampa Bay, and Newton appears poised to replace him in New England, at least for this season.
“And the answer is a resounding yes. The Patriots absolutely can win the Super Bowl this season with Newton, who is a proven winner with plenty left in the tank, even at 31.
“Newton needs to stay healthy, of course, and he hasn’t been able to do that recently. But if he remains upright, he and Belichick and the Patriots’ defense are a formidable combination.”
Oliver Thomas, Forbes Sports: “Newton’s résumé spans 124 starts, 29,041 passing yards and 4,806 rushing yards. He has thrown 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He’s taken in an additional 58 touchdowns himself.
“Three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance have been logged along the way.
“A cap number of $1.1375 million with the Patriots won’t reflect it. But that number is what an organization currently carrying $263,489 in space, per PatsCap’s Miguel Benzan, could manage without making a corresponding move…Newton has an opportunity to play a far larger part on the field than on the books.”