Many football fans, including folks in New England, scoffed when news broke that the Patriots are bringing back Cam Newton.
Peter Schrager, however, believes the move makes plenty of sense.
The Patriots reportedly re-signed Newton on a one-year deal worth up to $14 million. A good chunk of that figure reportedly is tied to incentives, so New England isn’t making that much of a financial commitment to a player who struggled over the course of the 2020 season.
With this in mind, and considering the new NFL year hasn’t even begun yet, Schrager has no qualms with the Patriots giving Newton a second chance.
“…For a one-year deal, it’s a no-brainer for the Patriots,” Schrager said Friday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “At the very least, you have Cam Newton. It doesn’t close the door on them going in the draft, making a big move or even acquiring someone else in free agency. To me, Cam Newton — it’s worth giving another shot. I think the COVID factor was real last year. He was playing great football early in the season, got coronavirus, wasn’t the same quarterback afterwards and then his arm apparently fell off in the last month of the season because he couldn’t throw the ball at all. It sounds disparaging, but he wasn’t the same quarterback throwing the ball he was in Week 2 in Seattle where he looked great. To the Patriots, let’s give him a full season of learning the playbook, let’s bring it all back together. But this isn’t a quarterback for the next two, four, five years. It’s a quarterback for now as free agency start.”
Patriots fans being discouraged by this development is understandable, as Newton didn’t show much promise in 2020. But as it stands, there is not a clear path elsewhere to an upgrade under center. The free-agent quarterback market is not robust and a trade for a veteran signal-caller might not be a feasible option for New England at this point. The Patriots can — and should — draft a QB next month, and Newton can help make for a solid position battle in training camp.
At the very least, Newton is a quarterback with experience in New England’s system and he deserves some benefit of the doubt given the slew of factors that worked against him last season. All told, this should be chalked up as a low-risk, high-reward move for the Patriots.