The stage is now set for the Cam Newton-era to begin at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium.
Newton agreed to a one-year incentive-based deal with the Patriots on Sunday, June 28, for the league minimum of $1.05 million, which could go up to $7.5 million, according to NFL Network.
He’ll join Patriots quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer and will likely have to compete for this year’s starting position. If Newton does get the starting slot, he’ll be the Patriots’ first Black starting quarterback.
Tom Brady, the Patriots’ quarterback for 20 seasons, announced in March that he was leaving the team and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Newton was permitted to seek a trade by his team, the Carolina Panthers, that same month.
The developments followed Newton, 31, fracturing his foot in last year’s preseason and only playing in two games. He also had to undergo several surgeries on his throwing shoulder prior to his foot fracture.
Newton’s market value may have diminished over the years because of injuries, but he was still considered to be one of the more coveted free agents during the current off-season. It’s possible that showing himself working out on Instagram in recent months and looking healthy restored the faith of different teams in him.
Newton came to the Carolina Panthers as a first overall pick in 2011 and had success from the start, becoming the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year. He’s been selected to the Pro Bowl three times, was the league MVP in 2015, taking the Panthers to the Super Bowl that same year.
When it comes to what a healthy Newton can accomplish, the numbers say it all. He has 29,041 career passing yards, rushed for 4,806 yards, and has the most rushing touchdowns, a total of 58, of any quarterback in NFL history.
Within a matter of months, the Patriots were able to replace one MVP quarterback with another when Brady left and Newton came aboard.
Newton sent a message about the Patriots signing Sunday on Instagram Live.
“I’m excited as I don’t know what right now,” he wrote. “All praise to God. Dropping content tomorrow. I hope you’re ready. #LetsgoPats.”
Some of his fellow NFL players congratulated him, including the Cleveland Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr.
“@CameronNewton U been workin! U deserve tht! SWEAAAAAH!!” tweeted Beckham on Sunday, June 28.
Not everyone, such as the NFL’s Richard Sherman, is seeing the news as reason to celebrate. Sherman, a member of the San Francisco 49ers, slammed the new deal and said as an MVP quarterback, Newton is getting low-balled.
“How many former League MVPs have had to sign for the min?” (Asking for a friend.) just ridiculous,” tweeted Sherman on Sunday. “A transcendent talent and less talented QBs are getting 15/16m a year. Disgusting.”
Thanks to COVID-19, there was some uncertainty about when the NFL would start this year, but Newton and the Patriots are now scheduled to attend training camp in July.
The regular season is supposed to start on Sept. 10, with the Patriots facing the Miami Dolphins in their season opener on Sept. 13.