On June 28th, it was announced that Cam Newton would be signing with the New England Patriots. At first glance, the Patriots seemed to re-enter title contention. Clearly getting a quarterback to replace Tom Brady was the most pressing need for the team. And, it’s not often a former league MVP and is on the market. Heck, an argument could be made that he’s already in the mix for one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in history. But Newton’s MVP season will be five years behind him. In addition, a severe shoulder and foot injury over the last two years has given him the label of being “injury-prone”. When the Patriots signed him, it was for the minimum with up to 7.5 million dollars in incentives. So just how much does Cam Newton help the New England Patriots in 2020?
How Much Does Cam Newton Help The New England Patriots?
Looking At The Team Around Newton
Before we can say how much Newton will help, we need to look at who he’ll be working with. For starters, Newton will have Brady’s former favorite target Julian Edelman in the slot. Although Edelman will be 34, he should still be the most reliable target on the team. After that, James White appears to be the next most reliable option for Newton. With how much he liked to throw to Christian McCaffrey back in Carolina, White could see a high volume of targets in 2020. Unfortunately for them, the rest of their weapons have question marks. Sony Michel is coming off a dismal 3.7 yards per attempt in 2019. Last year in eight games with the team, Mohamed Sanu only gained 207 yards and one score. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry was arguably the biggest rookie letdown a year ago. Finally, the tight end position will rely on two rookies, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.
How Can Newton Help The Patriots?
On the whole, Newton’s targets will all have to majorly step up. Because of all the time he missed last year, it’s hard to know how good Newton will be in a game setting now. But when looking at his 2018 stats, there’s stuff to like. Newton completed nearly 68 percent of his passes, which was the best of his career by a good margin. His quarterback rating was 94.2, the second-best of his career behind his MVP season. And his touchdown to interception ratio was 24 to 13, which was one of his more well-rounded ones. However, that season was when Newton’s scrambling took a hit. Cut to 2019, and the foot injury Newton had suffered made him one of the worst quarterbacks in the two games he played.
Depending on his health, and chemistry with Josh McDaniels, Newton has the chance to be one of the better dual-threat signal-callers in the league again. At least early in the season, McDaniels should try and scheme the offense to make Newton’s life easier. Much like how Brady lowered his yards per attempt and got rid of the ball quicker last year, Newton might do the same this year. After all, his weapons may not allow him to throw downfield all that much. Newton spent the last offseason working on his mechanics and new throwing motion. This year will be the first true test of the motion since last year’s foot injury hurt Newton’s game as a whole.
Other Factors To Consider
There are some other factors to consider when looking at how Cam Newton could help the Patriots. First, their strength of schedule in 2020 is slated to be the easiest in the entire NFL. Secondly, they still play in a division where the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are rebuilding. On the flip side of the ball, the defense has top-ten potential. They have one of the best secondaries in the league with reigning defensive player of the year Stephon Gillmore leading the way. This will be the third straight season their top four cornerbacks and starting safeties have played together. Longtime locker room leader Dont’a Hightower is also back to provide stability. Admittedly, the front seven lacks a legitimate one on one pass rusher outside of Chase Winovich who only played 29% of snaps last year. Their first two draft picks Kyle Dugger and Josh Uche will be counted on for instant contribution as well.
Bottom Line: Newton Was A Great Signing For The Patriots
When it’s all said and done, signing Newton for the price they did was a low-risk with high reward signing. The worst-case scenario is Newton not coming into the season fully healthy, and Jarrett Stidham is the week one starter. In the best case, Newton (who is only 31) starts healthy and stays healthy thanks to a top ten ranked offensive line protecting him. And if any head coach can get the most out of a player, it’s Bill Belichick. Regardless, the Patriots are better off with Newton on their team than without him. And they will be looking to still earn a playoff birth despite moving into a new era.