Cam Newton is back with the Patriots, and former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall believes that’s a good thing for both the quarterback and New England.
While Newton’s new deal — reportedly worth close to $14 million but incentive-laden — drew mixed reviews on social media, Marshall explained Friday on FS1’s “First Things First” that it really could benefit both sides as the Patriots look to bounce back in 2021.
“This is a win-win for the New England Patriots and Cam Newton,” Marshall said. “Cam Newton gets an opportunity to actually prove it. We had an opportunity to sit down with him on our podcast, “I AM ATHLETE,” and he talked about, ‘Look, I didn’t have the offseason. I didn’t have the preseason,’ which nobody did, but he felt like he needed it. One, he was coming off injury. And two, this is a complex situation, where when you look at (Patriots offensive coordinator) Josh McDaniels and how he does offense every single week. It’s different. It’s not just 11 personnel, three wide receivers, one tight end and then a running back. It could be three different wide receivers in Army and Navy, etcetera, etcetera. I was in that offense.
“So now, Cam gets an opportunity to prove that what he said and what he’s been saying is actually true. And I like this, because if Cam can get back to where he needs to be, and Bill Belichick does his job, man, this team could be right back in contention.”
Quite frankly, Newton wasn’t good in 2020. He had his moments, especially early in the season, but the negative outweighed the positive between the lines. New England’s offense was stagnant, incapable of pushing the ball downfield through the air.
“This says more about Bill Belichick and the Patriots than it does Cam Newton,” Marshall said.
” … This is Bill Belichick doing the right thing, Bill Belichick saying, ‘You know what? He might not be worth 14 million, but he’s the starting quarterback and if that’s our starting quarterback, then we need to respect that position.’ So I think that says a lot about Bill Belichick.”
Bringing back Newton doesn’t preclude the Patriots from adding another quarterback via the 2021 NFL Draft, trade or free agency, in turn creating some competition under center. The move obviously is a vote of confidence in the three-time Pro Bowl selection, though, no matter how you slice it.
“The other thing it says about Bill Belichick is, maybe he’s saying, ‘Well, we’ve seen him every day,’ ” Marshall said. “We heard about it — all of the energy, the leadership skills, etcetera, etcetera, and then we saw flashes of his brilliance in the Miami game, flashes of his brilliance in the Seattle game, primetime, and flashes against Buffalo, coming down to a fumble. And that’s probably Bill Belichick saying, ‘You know what? We had no tight ends. We had no wide receivers. Our defense wasn’t what it was supposed to be. And then on the other side of that, Cam Newton went down because of COVID-19 and then everything changed for him and us.’ So I think this says more about Bill Belichick than it does Cam Newton.”
Meanwhile, for what it’s worth, Newton’s incredibly accomplished predecessor, Tom Brady, reportedly is signing a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.