The Patriots lost Tom Brady earlier this offseason and with the team signing Cam Newton, the task of remaining a competitive football team might be an easier feat.
New England was 25-1 (PointsBet) to win the Super Bowl prior to the Patriots signing Newton. The franchise is now 20-1 and only the Chiefs (5-1) and Ravens (6-1) have a better shot at winning the AFC (Pats are now 10-1, up from 12-1).
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Still, it’s not certain that Newton starts for the Patriots. Jarrett Stidham, who was the team’s fourth-round pick last year, has been getting in work with the team this offseason. His familiarity may give him a better opportunity at the starting spot come week 1. Stidham was the heavy favorite to start for the Pats over Brian Hoyer and many sportsbooks have taken down the prop since Newton signed.
Newton’s Recent History
Newton led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, though in the subsequent years, he struggled. In 2016, his team was 6-10 and he ranked 25th in QBR. The next season, the Panthers rose to 11-5 behind Newton, though he ranked just 19th in QBR.
Newton played excellent football during the first half of 2018 before injuries slowed him down. The Panthers were 6-2, leading the NFC South, and Newton was 12th in QBR while completing 67.3 percent of his passes under Norv Turner’s offense. Some had Newton in the MVP conversation. However, his right shoulder let him down and the team collapsed in the season half of the year. Newton would only play two games in 2019, showing rust after undergoing foot surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury prior to the season.
Predicting Newton’s Rebound From Injuries?
Newton underwent shoulder surgery in 2018 and had foot surgery in 2019. While the shoulder ailment shouldn’t be a concern, though the foot injury is worth exploring.
Some skill position players have never recovered from a Lisfranc injury in their foot. Yet, quarterbacks have been able to come back from it. Matt Schaub suffered the ailment in 2011, which ended his season, though he was able to make the Pro Bowl in 2012. Taysom Hill suffered the injury in college and it hasn’t hindered him on the Saints; so much so that some in New Orleans consider the 29-year-old the franchise’s QB of the future.
The injury may impact Newton as a runner at some point but we don’t know how much Bill Belichick plans on using him in that role. The Pats were rumored to be installing read-option plays for Stidham and that could bode well for Newton if he stays healthy.
Patriots Take Little Risk With Newton Signing
Newton can make up to $7.5 million in incentives with the Patriots, though the deal is for the league minimum and Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com believes that Newton’s contract could be the bargain of the offseason. There’s very little risk for the Patriots and he could easily outperform that deal by a mile.
New England was not in a position to go after a big-money QB this offseason and while they may need to make a few corresponding moves to accompany Newton’s incentive-laden deal, the low price tag allows the club to maintain a deep roster, which should bode well for their ability to repeat as the AFC East champs and stride for higher heights than that.