Cam Newton, who was rated as our top remaining free agent on offense, has signed a one year contract with the New England Patriots worth up to $7.5 million.
The contract sounds like it will run similar to the Jameis Winston contract with the Saints that is effectively a contract for the minimum with loads of incentives that can push the number higher if he winds up starting. The Patriots have the worst cap situation in the NFL in 2020 so a contract like this, if Newton starts, would basically defer any salary cap impact to 2021.
Newton’s last two years have been marred by injuries and a body that looked to breaking down but there is no risk in a contract like this for New England. If healthy he will be the best QB in the AFC East barring tremendous development out of Sam Darnold or Josh Allen and give the Patriots a chance at the playoffs. If not they will move on and start Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer, which was the plan before this.
This is probably a best case scenario for Newton once it was clear he was not going to receive a starter level contract in free agency. Any type of team success should lead to a gigantic contract next year similar to Ryan Tannehill’s career changing season with the Titans last year. If he fails to lead the team to the playoffs but looks healthy he would still at least be looked at as a higher level backup for the next few years.
I’ve been surprised he lasted as long as he has. While the injuries are a concern, teams should not really care much about that if it is a low cost contract and its rare even with declining play to see a player with this name value last so long. Denver and Buffalo are the two teams in particular that I thought made sense to bring him in as a backup in the event their young starters do not fire this year. Now he will get the chance to prove them all wrong if he can win the starting job with the Patriots.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.