Wednesday, 01 July 2020 09:19

Newton signs one-year deal with Patriots after months of uncertainty

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Newton signs one-year deal with Patriots after months of uncertainty Pixabay

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Cam Newton’s undetermined employment status laid low for the last three months as more pressing issues around the nation took the forefront during the coronavirus crisis.

The former National Football League MVP and Carolina Panthers quarterback was released by the team in March after asking for the front office to do so. Teddy Bridgewater replaced Newton as the Panthers’ signal caller when he signed a three-year deal during the same month.

Now Newton, who spent all nine of his NFL seasons with the Charlotte-based franchise and took the team to a Super Bowl XLIX appearance in 2015, will be suiting up in a darker shade of blue this fall.

Should the NFL return to play amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Newton will take snaps under center for the New England Patriots. It was announced earlier this week that Newton and the Pats agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million deal.

While the Patriots have been the team to beat around the League for nearly the last two decades, they’ll be without six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady. Taking his talents south earlier this offseason, Brady signed a two-year, $50 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

There’s a stark contrast in Brady and Newton’s postseason success numbers, seeing the former play in nine championship games while the latter has appeared in just one. 

Also vastly different in their playing styles, Newton is a mobile quarterback who can extend plays outside the pocket, while Brady doesn’t seem to age with his iconic passing game from behind his wall of offensive linemen.

All of this brings me to the question of whether or not Newton will be successful in a sports town that has known nothing less than expecting to make deep postseason runs during Brady’s 20-year tenure with the Pats.

While I still believe Newton can play the game at a high level, there are some doubts that I’ll have to see played out before I can truly believe he’s a fit in New England. The first being the one-year deal he signed, which raises questions about owner Robert Kraft and the New England front office believing in Newton’s long-term success.

That’s never a good way to start a new business relationship, and there could be a variety of reasons why Newton’s contract was agreed upon for just one season. 

Another concern is head coach Bill Belichick and how he and Newton will mesh in the locker room and on the field. Belichick is arguably one of the best head coaches to grace the sport of professional football, but his stoic personality and often hard-to-decipher coaching strategies could be a clash for Newton.

This may not be an issue at all, but if Newton treats his time in New England like the waning months of his working relationship with the Panthers, a one-year deal may be all that he gets. Also, by NFL quarterback standards, Newton’s deal of just under $8 million for the 2020 season is much lower than other contracts around the League. 

Hoping money isn’t the sole driving force behind his performance in New England, Newton may take a look around the NFL and realize his reputation is possibly being undervalued compared to other first and second-string quarterbacks. Since being selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Newton has made just shy of $122 million in his career. 

As a lover of the game of football, I want to see Newton succeed. That would be the case if he were still in Charlotte, playing in another division across the NFL or preparing the gear up for a program that hasn’t seen a major change in its quarterbacks, or coaches, dating back to the early 2000s.

But before we can discuss what does or doesn’t determine Newton's success, or what Newton’s new job will look like, the NFL still needs to have a season. That’s priority No. 1.

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 July 2020 16:01

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_