After being released by Carolina, sitting in the free-agency seat for over three months, Cam Newton has a shot a rejuvenation thanks to Bill Belichick.
It was Rocky Balboa who iconically stated, “every champion was once a contender who refused to give up”. Hence the greatest of NFL coaches Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots aren’t bending the knee just yet for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. In fact, they are playing the double rejuvenation card in taking a flyer on the man who was football’s most dominant force at the quarterback position half a decade ago.
Cam Newton, 31, and the New England Patriots have agreed on a one-year deal worth $7.5 million. The same Cam Newton who managed to take home the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award in 2015 after leading his then Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 season and falling just a win short of capping it off with a Super Bowl victory over Von Miller’s Broncos. With the signing, the Patriots become the NFL’s first team to ever lose a former league MVP and sign one in the same offseason. Sidenote, Newton is one of two quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to lead the way to a 15+ win season. The other? Well, he’s in Tampa Bay right now trademarking dad joke-esque slogans such as “Tompa Bay” and “Tampa Brady”.
Hence we sit three months and 10 days post the start of Cam Newton’s 2020 free agency tenure and we’re all in a sense either bewildered or elevated by Bill Belichick’s most recent front office move. A move that in itself, carries more meaning beyond the symbolization of Belichick and the Patriots’ refusal to tap out before 2020’s kickoff.
In 61 years of New England football, the Patriots have never had an African-American quarterback play a season’s entirety in their uniform. In fact, the closest came was back in 2016 when Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett played in three games (two starts) during Tom Brady’s sidelining due to the four-game ‘deflate-gate’ suspension.
When taking into account the current climate in society that is 2020 America, welcoming Cam Newton post a one-start, injury-ruled season holds meaning beyond the gridiron. Highly-recognized professional athletes such as C.C. Sabathia, Adam Jones, Torii Hunter, and even 11-time Boston Celtic NBA Champ Bill Russell, have spoken to the not so friendly territory that came with their time spent competing in Boston. Experiences that can’t be ignored, nor can they be tolerated.
Yes, concerns regarding Cam Newton are present having made only two appearances last season due to a Lisfranc injury within his left foot. There’s also his 2018 shoulder injury that placed Newton on the sidelines for the final two games of that year. A season in which Newton still managed to throw for 3,395 yards with 24 touchdowns and 67.9 notched completion percentage.
However, again, this is a low-risk with high-reward potential level signing.
So what’s the worst-case scenario? Cam Newton underperforms. A scenario in which the Patriots $7.5 million-dollar investment doesn’t fall into comeback player-like fruition. This is a flyer and an opportunity where Newton has his shot at the revival needed in order to potentially find himself a pay-day elsewhere.
Meanwhile, in the event that Newton does perform up to the standards of his potential, then New England could potentially be granted a 2022 compensatory draft selection in the third round.
Ultimately what did we just witness? Yet another instance of Bill Belichick playing his infamous three-dimensional chess game in leading the rest of the league to believe that he’d ride out the year with the Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer duo, enduring 16 weeks of a rebuilding year.
This move doesn’t at all represent that. It in fact challenges that very notion and again questions the decision-making abilities of NFL front offices today. Why on Earth would you leave Cam Newton on a free-agent silver platter? Were the chances of Belichick swooping in genuinely never taken into consideration as an actual possibility?
In 2020 the New England Patriots and Cam Newton have the almighty golden-ticket opportunity to make all 31 opposing NFL organizations feel a crucial sense of regret. A picture-perfect shot at double revivification for two currently counted out parties.
Congrats New England. The Patriots versus everybody train is back up and running!