Despite previous reports from NFL analysts stating that the New England Patriots and QB Cam Newton will likely part ways this offseason, the Patriots yesterday signed the veteran to a one-year, $14 million deal.
Newton's return to the Patriots shows that reports are not always accurate, especially during the off-season when things can change quickly. While the contract is technically worth $14 million, only $5 million of it is guaranteed. Does this incentive-heavy contract mean that Newton is just a security blanket and the New England Patriots might pursue other QBs in free agency, through trades or in the draft?
NFL Trade Rumors: Will the Patriots still look for another QB after re-signing Cam Newton?
While Newton's contract is only partially guaranteed, overall it is much larger than what he signed last year. This could possibly be an indicator of the confidence that head coach Bill Belichick has in the veteran QB.
But that doesn't mean Newton is guaranteed the starting job. In the 2020 NFL campaign, Newton started 15 games for the Patriots, missing just one game due to COVID-19. In those 15 games, he led the team to a 7-8 record, and the Patriots missed the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Newton completed 242 of 368 passes for 2657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Being one of the best dual-threat NFL QBs, Newton's running game was certainly a welcome addition to the Patriots' offense. The 31-year-old QB rushed for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns.
For the Patriots, Newton could be insurance in case they fail to land Deshaun Watson or Jimmy Garoppolo. The team is also in a decent position for the 2021 NFL Draft and Belichick could get a rookie like Mac Jones to sit behind Newton. Belichick, however, has been known to draft poorly during his tenure as head coach and general manager of the New England Patriots.
Either way, it'll be interesting to see if the Patriots get more weapons to help Newton (or another starting QB). The lack of a dynamic receiving core was one of the biggest reasons for Newton and the Patriots' mediocre passing game in the 2020 NFL season.