Cam Newton for roughly $1 million guaranteed plus incentives cleanly fitting under the cap, uh yeah -- count me in.
How about this for an answer? Once upon a time and not so long ago, Newton was a $20 million+ annual salaried quarterback, former All-Pro, former MVP, three-time Pro-Bowler who was seeking a potential deal closer to his typical earnings. It didn’t happen and as time dragged on, there sat the always savvy, stealth, patient and predatory Bill Belichick calmly stalking his prey like the football team building killer that he is.
When the time was right, Belichick strung together the one million or so shekels he had at his disposal and reeled in his target. A brilliant stroke by the way.
That’s how it happened.
That’s why it happened when it happened and as a not so bright person once told me, “it aint brain scientry.” Real quote by the way, the perpetrator will remain nameless. Nevertheless, simply put, in this case timing met opportunity and when it did, the available money worked out. Good for Belichick, good for the Patriots and good for Newton. Good all around.
It’s all part of the Belichick playbook isn’t it? We’ve seen this trick many times before. The Patriots are nothing if not the ultimate opportunists. See the Darrelle Revis, Josh Gordon and the regrettable Antonio Brown signings as the most recent evidence of that.
Beyond how the deal got done, the timing of it and the instant and obvious roster improvement, there are other things I like about the Newton acquisition too.
First, both Newton and the young Jarrett Stidham are mobile quarterbacks. Newton is obviously a different kind of physical freakish weapon but the point is both can move outside the pocket. As the Patriots transition out of the Brady era of pocket passing, quick read and release offense they will seek to build around the skill sets they now have. A shift to a more mobile friendly passing game seems the obvious path.
If there is some level of confidence that Stidham could be someone to build with in the future, then what better person to shift the offense to now than Newton? He has proven NFL proficiency in operating a mobile quarterbacking scheme. It makes perfect sense. Building a brand new offense in 2020 to meet Stidham’s skill set, with little offseason physical work and so little live game snaps under his belt, felt like a recipe for disaster on some level.
Conversely, the idea of not only giving Stidham another year of seasoning, but a more targeted flavor of seasoning, is just good business. Observing Brady in 2019 and competing with and observing Newton in 2020 can only be a benefit to Stidham in his early development years.
Both Newton and Stidham are former Auburn University Tigers, which adds a little more spice to the dynamic as well. I always root for Auburn over Alabama in the Iron Bowl, dating back to the Bo Jackson days.
Lastly off the field, I think the weekly WEEI Patriots Monday interview just got a little more interesting for what it’s worth, too. Gotta love the Patriots, always keeping it interesting. Also not to be forgotten is that once Newton departs in 2021, in will come the compensatory third-round draft pick to help mitigate what was recently and unfairly taken away by the NFL in that farce of penalty that dropped Sunday night.
Cam Newton on the Patriots in 2020 and the money works too. All good things…