Cam Newton has been the Patriots quarterback for less than three months.
Yet, two impressive games into a 1-1 start to his New England career, signing the dynamic playmaker to a contract extension is already a talking point in Patriot Nation.
To be fair, WEEI has played a major role in that discussion.
Former Patriots tight end and Greg Hill Show cohost Jermaine Wiggins has become Newton’s hype man and the guy leading the charge for a new contract for No. 1.
But should Bill Belichick actually be considering a potential extension for Newton – he signed just a one-year deal with the team this summer after sitting on the open market for nearly three months that caps out paying him just more than $7 million if he reaches all his incentives this season – after seeing the former NFL MVP lead his team for just a pair of games to open the 2020 season?
There are obviously pros and cons to a potential extension at this point.
Among the biggest points on the pro side of the ledger would be adding stability and continuity to the most important position in sports. Newton would be committing to the Patriots and vice versa. The future would be set. Decisions and plans can be made at other positions and areas of roster-building knowing that the leader of the offense is entrenched and the style of play for the team would be clear.
It would also be financially beneficial on a number of fronts. First, New England could use some of its abundant cap space this season for the extension, limiting/reducing cap numbers moving forward. Second, a player generally can be had for less money the earlier the deal gets done. The longer Newton plays at a high level and the closer he gets to free agency the higher the theoretical price goes.
The cons are even more obvious, though. The first would be that a quarterback who’s dealt with injuries over the last couple seasons could once again get hurt after the extension is signed and that could very much alter the view/value of the deal. Two games proves nothing, really, either in terms of performance or health. The risk of rushing into a deal is clear.
There is also really no need to rush into a contract extension with Newton given that the team could always utilize the franchise tag to keep him from the true freedom of the open market next spring. In that way, Belichick has a pretty valuable safety net to work with. Let Newton play out the season, prove he’s healthy and still capable of a full 16 games at a high level and then deal with the deal after the season. Given the franchise tag option – which may not actually be ideal to the player or the team – there is limited pressure or risk.
Should the Patriots play it slow and let things play out this season with Newton? Or should Belichick – who’s seemingly liked everything he’s gotten from Newton on and off the field to date – open up discussions on an extension sooner rather than later?