Cam Newton keeps the New England Patriots on top of the AFC East
The New England Patriots made a big splash on Sunday night, signing Cam Newton to a one-year deal. While I’ve spent the last few months telling myself how good Jarrett Stidham is going to be, it’s impossible to deny that a former MVP is an improvement over a second-year quarterback who saw minimal playing time last season.
It’s been a while since Newton’s 2015 MVP season, and he’s dealt with multiple injuries since then as well. He missed nearly all of last season with a foot injury and dealt with an injury to his throwing shoulder the season before, but assuming that he can stay healthy moving forward, there’s a lot that Newton can offer in New England.
Bill Belichick heard the talk that the Patriots reign in the AFC East was over and said “not so fast” to everyone up in Buffalo. The Patriots defense remains relatively in tact from last season, N’keal Harry is healthy and has been putting in work this offseason, Julian Edelman is still there, and now the Patriots have a dual-threat QB trying to prove that he’s still got what it takes to dominate the NFL. I used to get fired up watching Brady scramble around the field, mainly because it was such a rare occurrence and his celebrations made it seem like even he was shocked about what just happened. But now I’ll watch a quarterback who is actually known for his speed and athleticism, and that’s something that I could have never pictured as a Patriots fan.
With the full details of the contract still not released, what is known is that the deal will be made up of many performance-based incentives. It’s a pretty low-risk, high-reward for New England. If Newton plays well, he’ll reportedly earn up to $7.5 million this season, and if not then the Patriots can use the opportunity to see what Stidham can do. But this move shows that Belichick thinks that the Patriots can win now, so while the Brady era dynasty may be over, the New England dynasty is just moving into Phase 2.
Just in case you needed a reminder of what Cam Newton can do on the football field, I’ll leave you with a little highlight reel.