Cam Newton re-signs with Patriots: The New England Patriots have re-signed QB Cam Newton to a one-year deal worth up to $14 million.
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Comp update: Patriots are finalizing a 1-year deal worth close to $14 million for Cam Newton to return to New England, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2021
Cam Newton Re-Signs With Patriots
In a deal that sent Twitter in an uproar, the Patriots will retain Cam Newton in 2021 on a contract worth close to $14 million. However, despite the number, Newton’s deal is incentive-bound. While the exact verbiage of Newton’s deal has yet to be released, longtime Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss is reporting that $6 million of the $14 million deal is “tied to honors and how far the Patriots might advance in the playoffs." 14 subtracted by six is seven. Therefore, from what we know now, it looks like Newton’s one-year deal is really worth $7 million without incentives.
Whether it is $14 million or $7 million, the Patriots have their presumed Week 1 starting quarterback locked up well below market value.
To put things into perspective, the Saints are on the hook for QB Taysom Hill for roughly $16.2 million. We don’t even know if he will start for them. What’s more, if Newton’s cap hit is on the low-end and hovers around that $7 million mark, signal callers that include Case Keenum ($7.3 million) and Marcus Mariota ($11.4 million) are costing their teams a larger cap hit than Newton. Those aforementioned quarterbacks played a total of 81 snaps last season.
Re-signing Newton also does not deter the Patriots from targeting the future of the quarterback position this offseason. Whether they make a trade or target one in the draft, I do believe the Patriots are in the market for a quarterback
Let’s pump the brakes on the over-reactions and realize that the Patriots are wise for retaining Newton. Not only are they retaining him at a discount, which allows them to improve at other positions of need, but Newton wasn’t as bad as his stat line suggests in 2020. There were issues deeper than what meets the eye.
Remember, Newton tested positive for COVID-19 in early October. In the first three games of the season, Newton averaged 238 passing yards per game with two passing touchdowns and two interceptions. He also averaged 49.7 rushing yards per game with four rushing scores in that period. Newton went 2-1 in the first three games of the year and things were looking up. Then, the coronavirus happened. Post-COVID, Newton averaged just 161.9 passing yards with six TDs and eight picks in his final 12 starts as the patriots’ QB1.
While the Patriots ended the season at 7-9 — 7-8 in games with Newton — Newton never really looked the same. We can’t blame it all on the virus, however. Not only did Newton have to contend with an unprecedented offseason, but he also initially signed with New England in early July. Newton had to learn a complex system in weeks to be ready for the season opener.
Oh wait, there’s more.
How about those weapons. Referring to the supporting cast the patriots surrounded Newton with last season as “weapons" is comical.
- N’Keal Harry, who the Patriots are currently attempting to trade — nice to see they now know what I know from the get-go.
- Damiere Byrd, a blip on the radar on most teams, but led the Patriots in passing snaps (496).
- Julian Edelman, an aging and regressing wideout who suffered a season-ending knee injury after six appearances.
- Jakobi Meyers, a UDFA in his second year.
- Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi, a couple of rookie tight ends that made minimal impact.
- Ryan Izzo, the Patriots’ starting tight end who was fifth on the team in passing snaps (297).
Must I go on?
In 2019, Tom Brady had similar weapons to work with. While Brady led the Patriots to a 12-4 record, they were bounced out of the playoffs in the Wild Card round by the Titans. Moreover, although Brady managed to pass for 4,097 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions, it was the GOAT’s lowest yardage total since 2016 in a season in which he only played in 12 games and his lowest touchdown total since 2006.
Why is this important? Brady managed to accomplish those feats in a system he’s been in for 20 years. Newton had about 10 weeks before he was thrust into the starting job with inferior talent around him.
We know what happened after that 2019 campaign. While many believed Brady was regressing and father time was finally catching up to him, I took a contrarian outlook. I put the onus on Brady’s supporting cast more so than on regression.
At one time, Brady didn’t need much around him to win Super Bowls. At his age, he knew he needed help. Brady went to Tampa Bay with a loaded supporting cast and won a Super Bowl.
The significance? There was a time at which Newton didn’t need a lot of help either. Remember those Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess years in Carolina? At this juncture of his career and considering his skill set, Newton also needs help now. Will the Patriots get Newton the help he needs so they can field a winner? That is the question of the day.
Below, I will tell you why you should be optimistic about the Patriots from a Betting perspective and Newton from a fantasy football point of view.
Patriots 2021 NFL Betting Outlook
Entering last season, the Patriots led all NFL teams in players who opted-out due to COVID-19. OT Marcus Cannon, LB Dont’a Hightower, S Patrick Chung, TE Matt LaCosse, RB Brandon Bolden, FB Dan Vitale, WR Marqise Lee and OG Najee Toran all elected not to put themselves at risk. All of those players could have helped the Patriots to a better record, especially Cannon, Hightower and Chung. Lee would have helped at receiver, Bolden is a nice special teams piece and change of pace back and LaCosse would have likely started at tight end.
We haven’t even hit the new league year and NFL Free Agency and the Patriots are already better, on paper. Not only has Cannon, Hightower and Chung committed to returning to the team for 2021, but the Patriots also traded for RT Trent Brown, who played with the team before signing a big-time deal with the Raiders in 2019. What’s more, former Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph has made it known that he would like to sing with the Patriots this offseason after his release from Minnesota. Rudolph would be an immediate impact upgrade for the New England tight end room and a veteran mentor for Keene and Asiasi.
If the Patriots are aggressive in free agency while hitting on their draft picks — just don’t draft any wide receivers Bill — and surround Cam Newton with a competent supporting cast of pass-catchers, they could surprise in 2021. And guess what, I bet many would be shocked if they emerged as a playoff team, but I wouldn’t be.
Bill Belichick is not going 7-9 again this season. You can bet on that. Here’s how:
Patriots AFC West Winner (+480) (BetMGM Sportsbook)
- Bills (-170)
- Dolphins (+280)
- Patriots (+480)
- Jets (+1600)
As we stand, the Patriots have the third-best odds to win the AFC East. While they went 3-3 in the division last year, two out of three of their losses came by a combined 13 points (Bills and Dolphins). They were routed by the Bills in Week 16, however. As poorly as the Patriots played in 2020, they still managed to play the AFC East close outside of that Week 16 blowout.
The Jets are still in limbo, have no answer at quarterback, need to fill a lot of holes, and have a first-year head coach who has never been a head coach in the NFL before. The Dolphins’ defense is outstanding, but they have a ton of questions on offense, especially at quarterback. The Bills are the issue, but they don’t come without flaws.
If the Patriots make the right moves, is it that unrealistic to think that Belichick can get this team back on top of the AFC East? Absolutely not. At (+480), I would throw some cash on the Patriots to win the East. However, I would do it now. They are a few moves away from making Vegas adjust those odds. Place your wager while the odds are this favorable for the greatest football coach who has ever lived and a franchise that does not fare too well with egg on their face ego-wise.