It took almost two weeks between the first report and the signing becoming official, but the wait is now over: Cam Newton is the newest member of the New England Patriots as was announced by the club on Wednesday afternoon. While it remains to be determined which role the 31-year-old will ultimately play, his pedigree should put him at the top of the list of candidates to take over the starting quarterback position previously held by free agency departee Tom Brady.
If Newton indeed wins the starting gig over fellow Patriots quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, J’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke during training camp (and, if it takes place, preseason), he would become one of the cheapest starters in the entire league. While the former first overall draft pick can reach a total of $7.5 million through various incentives and bonuses built into his deal, the base value is just $1.05 million — including $550,000 in guarantees.
Getting a player with Newton’s upside for this price could eventually turn out to be one of the best free agency acquisitions Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick has ever made. It is not every day that you can get a starting-caliber quarterback that has nine years of experience and has been named the league’s MVP at one point on a veteran’s minimum deal, after all. Yes, Newton comes with questions related to his health, but the potential is intriguing nevertheless.
Accordingly, it is no surprise that Patriots fans feel good about the addition as a look at SB Nation’s latest Reacts survey shows. 60 percent of participants gave the move an A-grade based on the information available, with an additional 23 percent giving it a B. The other grades were not handed out that often: six percent opted to go with a C, four percent with a D, and seven percent opted to give Belichick and company a failing grade for signing Newton.
While those percentages would likely look different in another poll depending on the next few weeks — anything from Newton earning the starting job to him being released on roster cutdown day is a possibility at this point in time — the initial reaction to the Patriots picking up the former Carolina Panthers starter is a positive one. Now, however, comes the hard part: living up to the expectations that have been set for Newton, whether they should be considered fair or not.
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