Cam Newton needed a job, and the New England Patriots are always looking to upgrade their team — at any position. In a lot of ways, this always was a natural fit.
However, in the NFL, it’s not always that simple. That’s especially the case for the Patriots, who have very little salary cap space with the 2020 season nearing. So, it seemed, the Patriots would resist the urge to chase someone like Newton, a former MVP, while likely entering the season with second-year pro Jarrett Stidham under center, a player they reportedly love.
But things changed, and that apparently is part of the reason Newton reportedly is about to become a Patriot. He and the team agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal over the weekend, according to multiple reports.
“They reached out to Cam Newton at the beginning of free agency to obviously find out what he was looking for financially, and quite frankly, at the beginning, the price was too high,” NFL Media insider Mike Giardi said Tuesday on NFL Network.
So, what changed?
“The market dried up for Cam Newton, and the Patriots continued to do their due diligence on the player, talking to a bunch of different people that have come in contact with and coached Cam over the years.”
One of those people, according to Giardi and other reports, was former offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who gave an endorsement of the former No. 1 overall pick.
“I don’t know if that (Turner’s endorsement) was the thing that put it over the edge — it probably had a little something to do with the contract as well,” Giardi continued.
According to Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, the aforementioned dried-up quarterback market is what really set the Newton-Patriots connection in motion.
“Basically, if the Patriots were going to sign Newton for the minimum,” Bedard recently wrote, “it could only happen if he came to them with hat in hand and just wanting a shot to win. And that’s exactly what Newton did this week.”
There’s also this from Bedard: Newton’s “only stated desire” to the Patriots is he wants to win. However, we only can assume that Newton’s list of desires changed over the course of the offseason, assuming he was at some point hoping to make more than the league minimum — at least Richard Sherman probably hopes so.
So, in the end, the Patriots get what they want — a potential massive upgrade at the most important position in sports — and Newton gets his chance to play for arguably the greatest coach in football history to potentially resurrect his career.