It has been a tough process for Cam Newton over the last few months in free agency as he searched for his next NFL opportunity. The former Carolina Panthers star quarterback was in the open market for the first time in his career, but there wasn’t any real movement toward securing a new home in the league before 2020 season. That has all come to an end as Newton has finally signed with another team with the New England Patriots effectively stepping into Tom Brady’s shoes.
Cam Newton’s journey in free agency
It had been a rough trip through free agency for Cam Newton over the last few months after he was let go by the Carolina Panthers following nine seasons.
The Panthers struggled to find a trade partner for Newton that saw the likes of the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Chargers, and New England Patriots all pass on him. Even after he was released, the 31-year-old had difficulty finding a new team in free agency as the Chargers and Patriots continued to pass on him despite the apparent need to stabilize further that position after the departure of their long-term star quarterbacks.
That had led to chatter becoming prominent that teams were passing on him because of the belief that he wouldn’t accept a backup role. It had guided things toward uncertainty as there wasn’t any clarity about where he could continue his NFL career ahead of the 2020 campaign. All of that has suddenly changed as Newton as his next landing spot to put that chatter to bed.
Cam Newton signs with the Patriots
Throughout much of the offseason, there had been long lingering chatter that the Patriots were interested in the former league MVP.
Not much was made of it beyond reports of initial interest from the team once Cam Newton hit the free-agent market. There were even reports that suggested that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels not having a keen desire to bring in the three-time Pro Bowler due to his playing style not fitting what the Patriots offensive scheme.
That has all seemingly changed as Newton has inked a one-year deal with New England on Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of Chris Mortensen of ESPN. The contract is reportedly incentive-laden, which makes it a low-risk, high-reward move as the team will have to chance to see if he can fit in the fold without any long-term commitments involved.
It’s also Newton’s opportunity to prove that he can fit in any system and still has plenty of gas left to play at a high level to earn another lucrative contract with New England or another franchise. The next question is whether he fits into the puzzle for the Patriots’ long-term future and could genuinely vie for the starting job.
How does Cam Newton fit with the Patriots
With the Patriots bringing Cam Newton aboard, the question now becomes whether he will have a legitimate shot at the starting job.
The initial assumption is that his deal has to include incentives to prove that he deserves the starting spot to get paid more. For the Patriots, it shifts the attention over to Jarrett Stidham’s future as it was believed that the team was going to give him the shot at becoming their long-term starter.
New England had elected against taking any quarterbacks in this year’s draft and didn’t bring in another quarterback aside from Brian Hoyer up to this point in the offseason. Cam Newton’s addition spices up the competition that could see what Stidham is made off heading into his second year in the league.
It could also be an opportunity for the franchise to further develop the Auburn product without the necessity of throwing him in the fire before he’s ready. There are many ways that the move can unfold for franchise, which could all benefit the long-term future of the franchise post Tom Brady.