There are no promises in the NFL or life in general, as for Cam Newton and the New England Patriots, it’s the same song.
No Promises In 1 Year Contract
Newton and the Patriots came to a one-year agreement that does not guarantee a starting job. According to ESPN sources, “Newton will earn $5.1 million if he’s healthy and on the roster as a backup, with an upside to $6.6 million if he starts all season and $8.6 million if he starts and the team makes the playoffs.” Also adding that this contract is similar to a backup position. And judging on last year’s performance, that’s no surprise.
Patriots signing Newton for another year despite the underwhelming previous season may shock some. Despite the 7-8 record as their starting quarterback, Newton only threw for 8 touchdowns and 2,657 yards. Despite his second highest completion rating of 65.8% he still ended up with 8 ints. When comparing to his MVP season in 2015, it’s clear to see the former Panther star is past his prime. But yet he can still be a productive quarterback in this league.
Last Year Wasn’t Newton’s Fault
It may be unfair to compare Newton’s recent play when considering the conditions. Players backed out before the season, injuries to Edelman kept him out, and a bunch of young receivers that lack experience. The excuses are not only understandable but uncontrollable. In the year of a pandemic, some would consider a 7-9 record pretty decent. However, when it comes to the ‘winning culture’ in New England, decent isn’t enough.
Make no mistake, this won’t be the end of the Patriot’s pursuit of a starting quarterback. Whether it’s through trade, free agency, or the draft expect to see some action taken place. With Matt Patricia back in New England, expect a similar formula of strategy between him, Belichick, and Josh McDaniels.
What They Need If Newton Starts
If Newton is given more to work with he certainly will be more productive on the field. Having his best receiver Edelman out, didn’t help him. Forcing him to play with young and just ok guys such as Jakobi Myers and N’Keal Harry didn’t help either. He does have a solid running core to utilize. Damien Harris, veteran Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, and trusty James White all should be used more next season. Although there are no promises, I’d expect New England to make some offensive moves in the draft. Especially since they missed numerous opportunities to sign high-profile free agents.
And although it’s out of Newton’s control but the defense needs to get better as well. Stephon Gilmore is on the trade market and could go. New England needs to get guys who can pressure the ball in key moments. With Patricia back on the defensive side of things mixed with Bill’s intelligence, that should be fixed. New England is notorious for never overpaying players so the odds of Gilmore departing are high.