After months as a free agent, Cam Newton is the newest quarterback of the New England Patriots. He is the favorite to inherit the job left by legendary Patriots QB Tom Brady.
There were plenty of rumors linking Newton and the Patriots while he remained unsigned. The team kept sending signals that it was happy to move forward with another former Auburn star quarterback, 2019 rookie Jarrett Stidham, as its starter in 2020. Eventually, it brought in the former Carolina Panthers on an extremely team-friendly deal.
While injuries have robbed Newton of his last few seasons, he is still a true superstar in the sport. Newton won the 2015 MVP Award, and led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance that year. Even so, he feels the weight of potentially replacing Tom Brady, calling it the “elephant in the room.”
“You know who (you’re) coming after? I’m like, yeah, great. What he was, what he is, is great, needs no even talking about it,” Newton told Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Todd Gurley in a roundtable discussion posted to OBJ’s YouTube page.
“But one thing about it, though: Coach (Josh) McDaniels, you’re able to call some stuff that you ain’t ever been able to call now,” Newton added, referring to the Patriots’ longtime offensive coordinator. Aside from his famous QB sneak ability, Brady was a pure pocket passer. Newton introduces the possibility for all manner of designed quarterback runs, potentially transforming the Patriots offense.
“You’re getting a dog. You’re getting one of these ticked-off dogs too,” Newton said, clearly motivated for the coming season. “And I’m looking at the schedule and I’m like, ‘Who we’re playing? That team passed on me! OK, that team passed on me. They could’ve came and got me.’”
Cam Newton is set to make just over $1 million in base salary, with just $550,000 guaranteed. He can get up to $7.5 million through bonuses, though that is still well below market value for the former MVP, if he’s healthy.
The Panthers decided to move on from their former No. 1 pick after two injury-laden seasons. The team hired Matt Rhule as head coach, and wound up signing former Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as its new starting quarterback.
If Newton successfully wins the job and looks like the pre-injury quarterback, it will be one of the better stories in recent NFL history, though most won’t be thrilled if it happens for the Patriots, who have had the luck needed to for an all-time great, two-decade run with Tom Brady well into his 40s.
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