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Patriots Sign Cam Newton

The Patriots have reached a one-year, incentive-laden deal with Cam Newton to replace Tom Brady. No more Jarrett Stidham as the projected starting quarterback.

If I can be a Patriots fan for a second, this makes me very happy. Now we have to see how healthy Newton is. But learning the offense shouldn't be too tough because Norv Turner uses the same Erhardt-Perkins language that the Patriots use.

BONUS: At the same time that news leaked about the Patriots signing Newton, news also leaked about the NFL handing out penalties for the Patriots' television crew that filmed the Bengals sideline during a December game. The Patriots will lose a third-round pick in 2021, they get fined about $1.1 million, and Patriots' television crews will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season.

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Comments

84 comments, Last at 04 Jul 2020, 1:44pm

1 The signing makes all the…

The signing makes all the sense in the world from both sides. However I'm a little ambivalent about the fit. As quarterbacks and schemes go, Tom Brady and cam Newton are polar opposites.  Furthermore bill belichick has never run an offense with a running quarterback and one that is an established veteran.

You can definitely see and understand the upside,  that's probably not a realistic expectation at this point. The last time cam Newton was an MVP was a long time ago and many hits and sacks ago. I will be impressed if Belichick can coerce some high level play out of him

8 No sarcasm intended but it's…

No sarcasm intended but it's a rather small pool if you're limiting BB to using a veteran, running QB when he's not had Brady.  I mean running QBs weren't wanted before year 2000   And he's usually planned ahead enough to have a cheap, rookie backup in the wings.

That said, as I recall he did adapt the offense to take advantage of Jacoby Brissett's passing inexperience in his first start in 2016.   8 runs, 48 yds  ... 11 of 19 passing ... but that may also have been to take advantage of Bill O'Brien!

7 On the Other Hand...

You forget, Josh McDaniels drafted and coached running QB Tim 'The Lord Is with Me' Tebow to a playoff victory over the heavily favored Steelers!

Seriously, Belichick is the last coach in the world to strap Newton to any system Procrustean Bed. The offensive approach with Brady ca. 2001 was very different from that of 2007 or 2018. I'm sure the offensive approach will be designed to maximize Newton's abilities.

Wherein is the real issue: how much ability remains in Newton's twice reconstructed shoulder?  We'll find out soon enough. One place the Pats do have plenty of offensive talent is at RB which suggests all sorts of possibilities. Should be interesting.

10 I had to double-check but…

I had to double-check but McDaniels never took the Broncos to the playoffs.  I have a lot of respect for how John Fox adapted to get the best out of Tebow.  Think there are a good many coaches who would have tried to make him a pocket passer and then blamed the roster construction when they lost.

I agree though Belichick will look to maximise production from Newton in whatever he sees fit. That may be pocket passing, it may be RPO, it may scramble when you can't get anything else!

22 Maybe I'm mistaken, but I…

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I believe McDaniels spent that year as OC in St. Louis, left as part of a coaching turnover at the end of the season, and was actually hired back with NE as some type of coach just prior to the playoff game with the Broncos -- which they were going to lose regardless.

The Steelrs game was our Superbowl that season. Nothing else mattered after that. And really, one of the most insane seasons of all time. Followed, of course, by signing a quarterbacking robot sent from the future to destroy defenses. 

42 My Bad

Somehow I tacked the Tebow miracle onto McDaniel's Denver tenure. A mind is a terrible thing. Then again, so is google. But it does come in handy.

43 27-0

That win against the Texans is one of the more impressive of Belichick's career. Forced to start his 3rd string QB and he threw a shutout.

79 If your offense has a bunch…

If your offense has a bunch of short drives because your QB keeps giving up turnovers, it's a lot harder for your defense to hold the shutout when they have to be on the field for 40 minutes instead of 30.

4 I'm most curious as to how…

I'm most curious as to how often they'll call designed runs for him. My biggest criticism of Newton has been his inability/unwillingness to avoid contact.

5 Teh ttypical sky si falling…

Teh ttypical sky si falling 2-2 start js going to be tougher on Newton rhan it ever was for Bardy

 Follow9ng alegendart pkayer not easy

18 Unfortunately, I think it…

Unfortunately, I think it all comes down to Newton's health. If he's healthy then he's at least at the level of a 43 year old Brady. Even if he's not completely healthy but still playing I think the defensive talent alone is enough to push a 70% Newton to double digit wins.

24 The last time we saw a…

The last time we saw a healthy Cam in the first half of 2018 he was having one of his best seasons until the wheels came off down the stretch. Brady wasn't awful last year, but I think Cam could be a pretty decent upgrade for them if he can overcome the injuries and re-capture that form (and do it without running the risk of re-injury, which, well...)

11 I'm guessing there's no…

I'm guessing there's no definitive answer to this yet (and hopefully there won't be), but if the NFL doesn't play in 2020, what happens to contract expiries?  I'm assuming they expire on the date they expire, football or no football.

Was just thinking about it in the context of this particular signing.  Not sure there's an NFL player who might benefit from a year off more than Newton would.  With a one year contract, he might get that year off to get healthier and still be a free agent again before the start of next season.

27 I always assumed the…

I always assumed the contract that goes by NFL seasons rather a specific date. 

Otherwise an unhappy player would just sit out a couple of years to become a free agent.  What they do is sit out until about week 10 then turn up to complete the year's eligibility.

I was wondering why that didn't Le'veon Bell when he sat out but he was already a free agent and refused to sign a Franchise tag deal.  The Steelers didn't apply it the next year which allowed him to sign with the Jets.

33 This situation is different…

This situation is different because in the case you describe, a player under contract (or at least, under tag) is refusing to honor their end.

I think as long as the players officially maintain that they are willing to play under the terms of the existing CBA (and their individual contracts), the League couldn't simply say "we decided not to play, so no season accrued" - at the very least, that's asking for a nasty, years-long fight in the court system. Unless there is some sort of force majeure clause that specifies that the players would not accrue service time if extraordinary circumstances cause the season to be cancelled, that is, and I can't believe the NFLPA would ever agree to that (then again, it is the NFLPA...).

Realistically, I think if the season were to be cancelled, the owners and the NFLPA would ultimately negotiate some sort of return-to-play agreement that would cover this (akin to the one MLB owners and players negotiated in March). And I have to think they would ultimately agree to count 2020 as a season accrued for contract purposes, even if player pay were reduced (or eliminated for 2020); it's still a year gone by in a field with notoriously short careers, and letting the League arbitrarily decide not to play & not pay would be an abuseable precedent, like the one you describe but in reverse (then again, it is the NFLPA...).

12 Shortened Season

I think this pick has a lot to do with the potential shortened season and definitively shortened workout/practice approach. You can put together the Cam Newton offense with so many fewer reps than are required for a timing-based option route heavy offense. I'm very curious to see whether McDaniels/BB can radically simplify to suit the requirements of this season. This has me intrigued as I haven't been since the Brady deflate-gate nonsense.

14 Who pays the 1.1 million?…

Who pays the 1.1 million? Does it come exclusively out of the owners' pockets? Do they have malpractice insurance and those guys pay? Or is the film company liable?

15 The Patriots were fined so…

The Patriots were fined so it comes out of the owner's pocket. If he's able to try to recoup from somewhere else is his problem. Though I'd love to see if teams are actually able to get cheating insurance. Can you imagine the premiums the Pats would have to pay?

17 sCam be sCamming

Last time we saw him, he wasnt trusted to stand up and extend the ball over the first down line.  this isn't exactly the injury you recover from

his 2018 season was his best for what would be his fit in a McDaniels offense.  but that's a 12 game sample vs a nine year career.  my gut is belichick did this to prevent him going to Buffalo, where he's a significantly better version of Josh Allen.  

19 Based on your speculation of…

In reply to by Jetspete

Based on your speculation of Cam Newton's likely on field performance in 2020 ( should there even be a season), I think it unlikely that version of Cam Newton is significantly better than Josh Allen if not better at all.

21 As a humorous side note,…

As a humorous side note, this signing must have caused Morganja's head to explode. He's a huge Cam Newton fan and an absolute hater of the Patriots ( I sympathize). How in the world is he going to reconcile this?

26 Who do you think will have a…

Who do you think will have a better year next year, Brady or Newton? If i were to take bets I would put Brady as a slight favorite with a money line of -$125 for Brady and +$115 for Newton

29 Betting

I don't even get zero-spread when making pretend bets with strangers on the internet! Where do I send my formal complaint letter!

45 Statistically or in…

Statistically or in actuality?  Brady has Arians, the best WR tandem, a very very good TE trio and what might actually be a solid offensive line after the draft. As much as I like the Patriots “system” and McDaniels, the Bucs are an extreme case of talent this season. 

69 Brady

Brady is being put into a fully-functional offense with plenty of talent.  He has great WRs and a TE he knows as well as his wife.  

As for Cam, we need to see if he can stay healthy and we need to see if the Pats can cobble together a receiving game.  

36 Like many posters here, I…

Like many posters here, I make a pastime of rooting against the Patriots, but the league is more fun when they're relevant, and it's going to be fascinating to see how they use Newton, so I'm all for it.

37 Similarly, the greatest…

Similarly, the greatest coach in today's game pairing up with one of the most uniquely talented QBs in NFL history looking to revitalize his career is sooo much more interesting than whatever we would have gotten from New England otherwise this year.

49 I'm reminded that Andy Reid…

I'm reminded that Andy Reid took on Michael Vick after his jail sentence and made him into a decent starter but he couldn't stay healthy.  Cam Newton is, of course, a much better passer than Vick ever was, but Vick wasn't coming off season ending injuries.

 

* Hopefully an Eagles fan will be able to retell the story better and more accurately than I have, as a non-Eagles watcher.

83 Cam Newton is, of course, a…

Cam Newton is, of course, a much better passer than Vick. Is he?

Just glanced quickly at Pro Football Reference, and their Rate stat, and Vick's 2010 with a rating of 118 tops Newton's 2015 with a rating of 115, Vick had a 104 in 2002, Newton a 105 in 2018. Cam also had a 100, 101 and 103 while Vick had 2 seasons of 100. They each had 3-4 years of solidly below average passing. Not seeing a whole lot of difference between the two. Not arguing that Rate is in any way definitive, I was just grabbing something that was easy to compare.

39 I'm with you

TomC, while I'm not totally anti-Patriot (like morganja), I'm happy to see them lose.  But this time actually like morganja, I'm a huge Cam Newton fan.  I think more highly of the Patriots and Belichick today after this signing.  It's a smart move for them and surely, covid 19 willing, Cam will get the chance he deserves.

64 Yeah, I root against the…

Yeah, I root against the Patriots & Brady, but as a minor distinction, I don't think the NFL is more fun when they are relevant. I think the NFL is more fun when there are multiple relevant teams in each conference, and there's competition within each division with the expectation that the teams on top could face real competition. In the aughts and early 10s, they had conference & division competition (though the division tapered off faster). In the latter part of the 10s, the AFC couldn't muster any kind of consistent competition for them, and especially their own division was and is a complete cluster!@#%. Which made them a depressing force for the enjoyment of the NFL (though I guess, really that was the maddening inability for another team to emerge without glaring weaknesses or terrible gameday coaching/poor team building was the depressing force of the AFC).

I enjoyed the Peyton/Brady 'rivalry', with some additional upstarts interfering most years. I did not enjoy Brady & the Pats by themselves with a feeling of inevitability for their win in every game (which of course, they didn't always win, didn't always get to the SB. But the feeling of them being a 50/50 shot for getting to the SB throughout each year was not 'fun' in any way to at least this viewer and circle).

67 What makes something interesting?

I think many of the comments in this particular thread about enjoyment of the league and the Patriots being relevant key on the aspect of the non-competitiveness over the last several years regarding their division, and the conference for several years.

For myself though, I've cheered for the Patriots particularly because I see Belichick willing to fit the gameplan to his opponents weaknesses and his teams strengths. He also brings many more revolutions to the game from different places and that's interesting from a schematic point of view. There's a reason that Chris Brown at Smart Football often covered the Patriots and their hybrid 3-4 one gap and two gap schemes, or the iterations of their spreads and offensive evolutions between generations of the team. Also, the wildcat debuted against the Patriots, as well as the Philly special, but also the entertainment of the Pagano Colt's swinging gate trick play.

I know some people want to see competitive games and I think the Patriots typically give close superbowls that have had some very entertaining moments/swings.

68 One can admire what the…

One can admire what the Patriots do / have done and still be sick of them.

I rooted for their primary rival so my dislike of them made sense. Then when the rivalry died, my antipathy for them followed the other fans'; it's exhausting to see them dominate a league for this long. Every year it feels like they are the favorite and hold the edge against whoever they're playing. I think even the Michael Jordan sycophants  would have grown exhausted to see the bulls continue another decade of dominance. 

70 still gonna be down year for Pats

Even with Cam, I'd still favor both the Ravens and Chiefs well ahead of them for this Fall, until I see otherwise.  

If Cam can play at his pre-injury level, at least the Pats should be clear favorites for the AFC East again.

And to think the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins didn't even show any interest in the guy.  Only the Bills can really get a pass on that.  

72 Ia poatwr drunk?

Jets, bulls, dolphins all have younf quarternacks. What purpose woudl newton serve kn those teams?

Billa wrnt to playogfs with Allen. Folphims have Tuagliopa, amd Jeyz have Darnold. Jets competitive wirh darnold but absolute garbage ehen Darnold has missed games. Conaidering coachinf and talent problems, Darnold shows mkre upside tham allen ro this point. If you do not agree, then we ca agree

To disagree

81 I am honestly stunned the…

I am honestly stunned the Jets won 7 games. This is the same team that lost the Dolphins, lost to the Jaguars, got blown out by the Bengals!!!, and had a bunch of lopsided terrible losses.

Ok, Luke Faulk being forced to start throws some caveats in there, but I am vocally on the, "Sam Darnold is probably a bust" train at the moment. In addition, I may also be the conductor of the, "Adam Gase is not a good head coach" train.  

82 Unless my eyes and ears…

Unless my eyes and ears deceive me, Adam Gase is the worst kind of bad head coach.  The kind that thinks he's the smartest guy in the room, and when things fail, they fail due to other people's failures.

In short, he's the Ryan Grigson of NFL coaches.

44 Newton Done?

Two seasons ago, Newton was playing some of the best football of his career. At 31, he's far from over the hill and has had plenty of time to recover from the injuries that ruined his 2019.

That's Barnwell's take as well. Some of the more delusional Pats fans seem to think that Stidham is already better than a healthy Newton and that Cam's in town to compete for backup with Hoyer. Not surprisingly, those tend to be the fans who think Newton is too 'flashy' and don't like his sartorial decisions. Oh, and he 'doesn't play the game the right way.' For that alone, I hope he throws for 5,000 yards. 

46 Well, I am one of those…

In reply to by RobotBoy

Well, I am one of those Patriots fans who isn't sure which of Newton or Stidham will be a better quarterback running the Josh McDaniels offense in 2020.  As of today, I lean towards Stidham....and I reject the barely-veiled accusations of racism.

I will also be ecstatic if Newton throws for 5000 yards, so long as it leads to a playoff berth. 

50 The two things about his…

In reply to by RobotBoy

The two things about his game I haven't liked are, 1)he takes too much contact and, 2)his windup, while not Leftwichian, is kind of time-consuming. I'm really intetested in seeing how Belichik and McDaniels deal with these issues, especially in contrast to the guy they had been working with for 20 (!) year. That guy emptied his hand quickly, and avoided contact judiciously. The new guy can make huge plays with his running, and you don't want to lose that, but at the same time you don't can't have him getting pounded like Earl Campbell in 1978. The long wind-up isn't ideal for what the Patriots have been doing for the past decade, but a more vertical game probably needs better receivers. Really hope we get enough of a season to see it play out.

51 I am perplexed how anyone…

In reply to by RobotBoy

I am perplexed how anyone can assume what Stidham is going to be considering he has played zero meaningful snaps of football in the NFL. Even a semi healthy Newton is probably better than week 1 Stidham. 

 

I suspect what's at play here is the view that the  system which elevates qb play only works for drop back passers like Brady, Cassel, or Jimmy G, ergo it will work for Stidham and not for Newton. I have to admit I'm a bit partial to this view but I'll be curious to see how wrong I am.

52 Well, there's a few things…

Well, there's a few things in play here...most importantly:

  • There are serious doubts whether the Cam Newton, as seen fully healthy and in his 20s, exists anymore, now or in the future.  Not only is he aging, but his shoulders and, in particular, his feet, are troubling from an injury history standpoint, which brings us to
  • Much like present-day Lamar Jackson, the fully heathy, twentysomething Cam Newton's success was in large part derived from his ever-present threat to run for major yardage on every play, dictating the way defenses played him.  If that threat to run is significantly diminished, and defenses start defending him as a more "conventional" quarterback, it is unknown how effective he will be. 
  • With an offseason that will range from somewhere from in between "severely limited" and "non-existant", it's hard to see how Newton and McDaniels will be able to come up with an offensive playbook, including terminology, and get enough reps to practice and deploy it -- and that's not counting the rest of the offensive players.  This problem disappears with Jarett Stidham,  They can simply roll out last year's playbook.
  • Belichick had enough confidence in Stidham to leave him as the only safety net to a 42-year-old non-mobile quarterback in 2019.

I'm not interested in comparing Stidham to the 2014 Cam Newton any more than I'm interested in comparing him to the 2017 Tom Brady.  Who is more likely to deliver now?

You'll never know if you have a potential franchise quarterback if you don't let him play, but instead block his path with shiny objects.  My best guess for 2020 at this point is that Stidham is the nominal starting quarterback, and McDaniels and Newton devise a package of plays for him to run situationally.  If Stidham starts to fail, Newton's package grows until he takes over full time.

 

53 I mostly agree with the…

I mostly agree with the bullet points. The world such as it is makes prognosticating how the season will go too much of a wildcard.

 

"it is unknown how effective he will be"

I'm more pessimistic than you, I think it is known. In an effort to save Cam Newton from himself they tried shoehorning him into a conventional drop back passer. It didn't work.

 

55 If you think you can keep…

If you think you can keep Newton healthy you obviously want to feature him as an option and power run threat, because that's the best version of him and opens up way more for you on offense. But Norv Turner had him blowing away his previous career completion % in 2018 and he finished significantly higher than league average, even counting all of the games he played at the end of the season with a dead shoulder. I wouldn't run the offense the same way I would with Tom Brady, but I think he could still be plenty effective in a more "conventional" QB role with dropback passes, play action, bootlegs, etc.

54 Do we think Belichick signed…

Do we think Belichick signed Newton without having previously put any thought into how he might adapt his offense for him? They will be working on a condensed timeline to implement it for sure, but i) every other team is also dealing with a condensed offseason and lack of reps to some extent, and ii) adapting schemes to players' skill sets is Belichick's calling card. He (and his staff) know how to teach/implement different schemes, it's a big piece of what sets them apart from other teams.

I don't think there's any need to wring hands over blocking Stidham's path to give a former #1 overall pick and league MVP a prove-it deal. Stidham was a fourth round pick and he was basically the placeholder starter on the depth chart by happenstance. To the extent he was viewed as a potential franchise QB, I think people were just trying to come up with a reason why such a smart organization appeared to be rolling with him this year.

56 Belichick had enough confidence in Stidham...

I'm reminded of something a front-office guy allegedly said about Colts-era Peyton Manning, when asked why they didn't spend more on a reliable backup. It was essentially "Let's be real: If Manning goes down, we're fucked regardless."

I guess what I'm asking is "Do we actually know that Stidham was supposed to be a proper 'safety net', or is he just The Guy Who Happened To Be The Second-Best Quarterback On The Roster And Heaven Help Us If He Has To Start?"

57 That's a fairly easy one... …

That's a fairly easy one...

 

“In our organization I don’t think we would put together a team the way Indianapolis did it when they lost [Peyton] Manning and they go 0-16, 1-15 or whatever it was.” Belichick pointed out back in 2014. “I don’t think that’s really what we’re looking for. Unfortunately when we lost Tom in 2008 — we had a player that could step in and we won 11 games. We want to be competitive even if something happens to a player at any position.”

59 I am curious, do you really…

I am curious, do you really think Belichick had no idea what record the Colts finished that year? If he had just said 1-15 or whatever, I probably would have thought nothing of it but I am certain he knows which teams have gone 0-16 before.  Belichick has thrown shade at people through the media before. I remember him making fun of the panthers after they trash talked Randy Moss. I wonder if he was throwing shade at the Colts organization and their coaches. 

62 I don't see what motivation…

I don't see what motivation Belichick (or any front office, really) would have for answering that question honestly.

1) Why tip practice/draft strategy?
2) Why tell your #2 QB he is, in fact, a 200-lb sack of #2?
3) You're in the AFC East. Who else is going to win it?
 

58 It was Tom Moore and it wasn…

It was Tom Moore and it wasn't directed about spending(though you can infer that from the comments), but about why they didn't devote any snaps to the backup qb. And Tom Moore's exact quote is, "Fellas, if 18 goes down we're fucked, and we don't practice fucked."

I don't think having Tom Brady meant Belichick totally devalued the qb position. He spent third round picks on Kevin O'Connel and Ryan Mallet; something you would in theory never do if you have a hall of fame qb who hasn't entered his decline yet. I think BB drafts based entirely on his value system, regardless of position.

Where does that leave Stidham, a fourth round pick? Contrary to others, I don't think Belichick went into the 2019 season expecting this to be Brady's last season. I think it just played out that way and Stidham happened to be the last guy remaining, like you said. 

84 Psychology

If you spend months defending someone as a viable starter in a sports site forum or on Twitter, it's gotta be tough to let that go. We tend to develop an (unhealthy?) attachment to our publicly-held positions. I'd say that's as much a part of it as racial bias in my team's fans or a belief that only a certain kind of passer works in a system.

63 Cam has had a second…

In reply to by RobotBoy

Cam has had a second shoulder surgery, and foot surgery since 2018. These are clearly not trivial injuries, especially for a QB. When he tried to play at the beginning of last season, he was a total mess. His health is clearly something of a shot in the dark now. Of course, at the price, it's probably a risk worth taking for a QB needy team like the Patriots (feels weird typing that). But banking on a return to pre-2018 form probably isn't the value play either.

60 Newton will be the 3rd #1…

Newton will be the 3rd #1 overall pick QB coached by BB (Testaverde, Bledsoe) + Kosar as a 1st supplemental.

None of them was drafted by him.

Moreover, Newton is one of the few QB 2-0 or better against BB Pats (Griese, Plummer).