Cam Newton Puts Patriots Back in the Playoff Picture

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Anthony Miller
I am currently an NFL Contributor for Infinity Sports Network as well as NFL Draft Contributor for NFL Draft Lounge. I also write about the NFL, XFL, and arena football for multiple websites.

Superman is back and Cam Newton has decided to take his talents to a place colder than North Carolina as he’s headed to the New England Patriots.

Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Cam Newton signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. While no details to the deal has released, the deal is incentive-based.

New England’s offseason saw their long time quarterback Tom Brady go to Tampa Bay after 20 seasons in New England. They brought in Brian Hoyer in the offseason as a veteran backup. The Patriots decided to not draft a quarterback and appeared they were going to start Jarrett Stidham. Adding Newton gives New England a top notch quarterback to replace Brady.

While injuries was a concern last season, Newton has proven to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL since he was drafted in 2011. Newton won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 while appearing in three Pro Bowls. 2015 was his best season throwing for 35 touchdowns and running for ten more leading to an MVP. The Carolina Panthers lost in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos in Payton Manning’s last game.

Since 2015, Carolina only made the playoffs once in four seasons. Newton failed to capture that MVP performance as turnovers and a lack of offensive production led to some tough seasons. 2019 was derailed by a shoulder and foot injuries that kept him out of 14 games.

Breaking Down the Deal

It’s a great deal for the Patriots as it’s looked at as a “low risk, high reward” contract. They purposely gave him less money up front just in case Newton has injury issues again. It also gives Newton motivation to play well so he can get more money on the backend.

New England needed to have an experience, high-level quarterback taking over. Patriot fans are used to winning and not many believed Stidham was ready for it yet. Newton has taken a team to a Super Bowl, he’s won an MVP, and he’s one of the best mobile quarterbacks in the league. Head coach Bill Belichick should have plenty of use for Newton this season.

For Newton, the deal may not be to his standard, but at least he got signed. It was probably a tough pill to swallow for him to take less money, but that only adds fuel to the fire. He’s always been a high motor, motivated player who thrives when his back is up against a wall. Newton should be excited about playing for a top tier franchise who might be good enough for the playoffs.

What Newton Has Around Him

Offensively, Newton has plenty of weapons to work with in the backfield. Sony Michel keeps looking more and more like a three-down back and could have a big season. James White and Rex Burkhead are both versatile running backs who can make an impact in the passing game.

Julian Edelman is always a reliable receiver as he never seems to drop the ball. He might end up being Newton’s best receiver he’s had in his career. Mohamed Sanu had a down season last year and is looking to rebound. N’Keal Harry is hoping to stay healthy in 2020 to get more playing time after only ten catches last year. Marquise Lee could be another guy Cam Newton looks for as he has his own injury problems, but a good veteran to have on the Patriots.

The tight end position has some questions to it as it is not a strength to the team. Rob Gronkowski was traded away after coming back to the NFL leaving the Patriots with questions. Newton is used to having Greg Olsen as his top target so he’ll need a tight end to trust.

Matt LaCosse appears to be the starter again, but only had 13 catches last season. Ryan Izzo had injury issues last that kept him off the field. New England did draft two tight ends in the third-round this season with Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi. The rookies could be fighting for a roster spot and a starting job out of the gates.

Will the Patriots be a Playoff Team?

The easy answer to this is the Patriots are better with Cam Newton as the starting quarterback. While Stidham has the traits of being a starter in the league, he’s simply not ready. He might be the future of the franchise, but Newton can help them win now.

Not many quarterbacks have the size that Newton has at 245 pounds and still be as athletic as him. He’s a leader who can take over a game at any time. Carolina has not always been the most talented team, but Newton always made them better.

The Patriots are still solid on defense as they have all the key pieces around them to be a top ten unit. There are some questions offensively, but enough for Newton to work with. Belichick has always had the ability to find the best in all his players and Newton is no exception.

If Cam Newton becomes the starter over Stidham, the Patriots will be in the conversation.

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