Cam Newton’s overall performance through three games with the Patriots has created some debate as to whether New England will consider signing the quarterback to a contract extension before he hits free agency this offseason.
Newton, who was released by the Carolina Panthers in March, signed a one-year contract with the Patriots before the 2020 season that could pay him up to $7.5 million based on incentives.
So far, it looks like a bargain for New England in wake of Tom Brady’s departure. And Bill Belichick at some point will need to determine whether Newton is the Patriots’ QB of the future.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport recently reported that a midseason contract extension for Newton is unlikely despite the harmonious relationship. He expounded the idea Wednesday during an appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” saying it might make more sense for both sides to wait until after this season to potentially work out a new deal.
“I think when it comes to the Patriots, they’d really like to wait and see where Cam is physically,” Rapoport said, as transcribed by WEEI.com. “Obviously, right now, he’s great. Through three games, he’s been exactly what they hoped for. But he did break down the two previous seasons, so locking him up long term with a lot of guaranteed money, and people scoff at injury guarantees, but that would be the thing that would be most relevant here. So I would say the Patriots would be careful locking in a short-term solution.
“As far as Cam goes, let’s say he’s playing well midway through the season. Well, it’s the Patriots. They always go to the playoffs, and when they go to the playoffs, sometimes they go deep into the playoffs. Would he agree to some deal midway through the season and possibly stunt his own value not knowing what he does on the biggest stage? I’m not sure it makes sense for either side. And you get to the offseason and you have the franchise tag. And a lot of times for the quarterbacks or these marquee positions, it comes down to franchise tag and then do a deal from there.”
Newton earlier this week called his time with the Patriots a “business trip,” explaining he hasn’t brought his children to New England yet and is highly motivated because he knows he might not get another NFL opportunity if he fails.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean Newton isn’t open to the idea of spending several years in Foxboro. But it further highlights how focused Newton is on this season alone. As long as he succeeds, everything else will take care of itself, including a lucrative payday on the open market.
“I think he wants to play it out and see what he can get, not necessarily elsewhere,” Rapoport said, per WEEI.com. “If it worked out where he signed a big deal with the Patriots, I think that would be great. I know Cam likes it in New England a lot. I know the coaches have been really pleasantly surprised with everything they have seen. And the players, too. It has been fantastic thus far.
“If he wants to go out and get $40 million a year, I just have a hard time imagining it’s New England. I really do think the Patriots are happy to get out from under a massive quarterback contract, even though the guy they were paying was Tom Brady. So my sense, just from my read on the situation, is that if it makes sense for Cam and doesn’t kill the Patriots, they would do it. If he wants $40 million a year, I think they would probably draft and figure it out from there.”
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, already has shown he still has plenty left in the tank at age 31, despite battling injuries over the past couple of seasons. As such, it’s crazy to think he toiled in free agency for “86 nights” before the Patriots swooped in with a team-friendly offer.
Ultimately, this could be a one-year fling or a long-term marriage. Either way, it’s possible, if not likely, we won’t learn Newton’s fate for several months, as both sides have other things to worry about right now.