Cam Newton has landed with the Patriots and will lead them to win the AFC East.
The New England Patriots have long dominated the AFC East but, with Tom Brady departing for the Buccaneers in free agency this offseason, the discussion became who would claim the throne from Bill Belichick’s club. As it turns out, he may not be ready to relinquish his hold on the division just yet — which is why Cam Newton is coming to Foxborough.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen broke the news that Cam Newton will sign a one-year “incentive-laden” contract with the Patriots. This is a move that has long been speculated upon as a logical possibility but had not come to fruition until now, for whatever reason.
Though the 31-year-old has slowed down since winning NFL MVP in 2015, he spent all but two games last season off the field, ultimately having surgery and rehabbing from a foot injury. Now healthy, he joins a quarterback room with second-year pro Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer.
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Considering the trepidation about either Stidham or Hoyer starting in the 2020 season, Newton should be considered the favorite to win the starting job. And if that happens, the Patriots are going to win the AFC East. Before you say that’s jumping the gun, here’s why that’s the case.
3. Patriots defense can still lead the way
The New England defense was the primary reason why the team was able to win the AFC East last season and get into the playoffs. Brady and the offense had their share of issues, to be sure. So even outside of Newton joining the Patriots, the defense was likely going to keep them in the mix in the division once again.
Yes, the Pats lost Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, among others, this offseason in free agency. However, they still have one of the best secondaries in the NFL with Stephon Gilmore leading the charge and one of the best defensive minds in league history, Belichick, scheming things up.
At the end of the day, no matter if the offense is great or even good, the defense makes New England dangerous in the division.
2. If anyone can rejuvenate Cam Newton, it’s Bill Belichick
While Belichick may be known best for his defensive mind, he’s also highly regarded for getting players to buy in. His eye and feel for the game are unparalleled, which is why we’ve seen so many reclamation projects, in terms of players, work for the Patriots. Cam Newton could be the next guy to fall into that line of players.
The simple fact is that the quarterback is only 31 years old and, for the first time in quite a while, he’s healthy. He was the No. 1 overall pick by the Panthers for a reason. His blend of physical tools is elite, even if he’s not the same runner that he once was at the position.
Newton will be a different type of beast for Belichick to tame as he’s never had a quarterback of this ilk under his watch. However, the head coach’s track record is reason enough to believe he’ll succeed once again.
1. Cam will be out to prove himself
Just as much as Belichick will be out to prove he can win without Tom Brady, Newton himself should have a chip on his shoulder. Despite having led the Panthers to a Super Bowl within the past five years and winning MVP, the quarterback was pushed out of Carolina. If that’s not enough to motivate him, I’m not sure what is.
After what we saw last season, there should be some concern about the weapons in the Patriots offense. At the same time, there is upside with a veteran like Julian Edelman and young players such as N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers and even Sony Michel. If Newton has a fire and motivation in him unlike anything we’ve seen recently, he’s not completely without help to make this offense even better than they were last year with Brady.