Cam Newton is now a member of the Patriots.
The former Panthers quarterback reportedly has signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal with New England for the upcoming season.
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Given it’s almost July and Newton has been available for months, the move comes as somewhat of a surprise since the virtual offseason has come and gone. But, as is always the case with Bill Belichick and Co., the Patriots will do whatever it takes to put the team in the best position to win.
Although it isn’t totally clear as of now, here are five potential reasons why Newton is now a member of the Patriots.
1. Jarrett Stidham isn’t ready to start
Despite all the positive reviews on Stidham, it is worth noting he’s entering his second year and has only thrown four NFL passes. It’s possible the Patriots know Stidham isn’t ready to start and could use another year of learning. Therefore, getting Newton, a former NFL MVP, at such a low cost for one year is a steal. The team can stay relevant for 2020 and then potentially turn things over to Stidham in a year as he gets another year under his belt. For Newton, since he’s still in his early 30s he could get another multi-year, good sized contract from another team after a solid 2020.
2. New England views Cam Newton an upgrade over Brian Hoyer
One of the biggest reasons why Hoyer was brought in this offseason was his familiarity with the Patriots system. Well, with Tom Brady no longer in New England the offense likely will not be like what it was. With Stidham now in the mix, the Patriots could be looking to change things with some more mobile concepts rather than the quarterback staying inside the pocket. Even though he’s in his 30s, Newton is still known for his running ability and the organization could view Newton as a better backup option than Hoyer given the potential change to the offense.
3. Patriots feel Cam Newton gives them better chance to win than Jarrett Stidham this season
Belichick is always doing everything he can to give the team the best chance to win and it’s possible he believes Newton would give it a better chance to compete in 2020 than Stidham. After all, Newton is a three-time Pro Bowler and MVP, so clearly the talent is there. Instead of hoping to stay in the playoff mix with Stidham at quarterback, if healthy, the Patriots would likely return as favorites in the AFC East with Newton, especially if he’s playing at the same level he was a few years back.
4. True quarterback competition this summer
While Hoyer was already on the roster, it was fairly certain Stidham would beat him out for the starting job — heck, he already beat him out last summer. Bringing in Newton gives Stidham someone to truly compete against during training camp and could potentially raise his game as well. If Stidham wins the job, the Patriots can cut Newton and not really be impacted. And then if he wins the job, the Patriots can feel good about the position in 2020.
5. Cam Newton’s value was too good to pass up
As everyone knows, Belichick loves value and perhaps Newton on a one-year, incentive-laden deal was too good to pass up considering he’s won a MVP and was once considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Belichick may not know what his plan is, but he will figure it out at the end of training camp and Newton’s low-risk contract gives him the freedom to do it.
Related: Cam Newton reacts to joining Patriots via Instagram