By now, you likely already know that Cam Newton is coming back to the New England Patriots on a one-year deal.
My immediate reaction:
At first, that number might've seemed alarming given Cam's production last season, but the deal is actually much more team-friendly than originally reported.
Over the course of last season, I had moments where I thought Cam Newton would get a five-year extension and others where I never wanted to see him rock the Patriots high school quality uniforms ever again. However, I have since been on the record that I would welcome another year of Cam.
Believe me; I understand why many Patriot fans are upset with the signing, and that doesn't even include the fact that the Bucs resigned Tom Brady today... (but we won't open the "Belichick forced out the greatest player in franchise history" can of worms right now)
Cam had plenty of moments last season where he looked finished. I flip-flopped like John Kerry all season, but I honestly think he is the Patriots best option going into next year, even if they draft someone. This man won an MVP, I'm down with giving him one more chance.
His production last year was not good enough. He knows it, Bill knows it, everybody knows it, but let's not forget the obstacles he faced; there was no preseason, he signed late, the weapons around him were trash, and he fucking caught the Rona. Plus, the Patriots were decimated by COVID opt-outs. Would you really rather have Mitch Tribusky, Andy Dalton, or Marcus Mariota in their first year under Belichick and McDaniels? Belichick and members of the team have done nothing but compliment Cam on his leadership. I expect him to come back more motivated than ever after last season. The guys who will be on this roster next year love him. He simply wasn't the Patriots only issue on offense last season, and if you think he was, you don't know football. Yes, his counting numbers sucked, and I might've piled on for clout...
But I am giving Cam the benefit of the doubt. I don't think he was ever at 100% last year, and now he has plenty of time to recoup. People will talk about all the throws he missed, and it's a valid point, but the lack of separation by a poor at best-receiving core did him no favors. Remember, this guy went from playing with a borderline HOF TE in Greg Olsen to two injured rookies who seldom saw the field. James White was a shell of himself, and Edelman missed most of the year. That lack of a security blanket showed.
For a less than $5 million cap hit, you will not find any veterans worth signing. Like the tweet I embedded at the beginning of this post, Cam's cap hit is currently 31st amongst NFL QBs. This is a great deal for the Pats and we should be rooting for Cam to earn all those incentives. They still have plenty of flexibility to improve when other teams are cutting guys left and right (like the Chiefs tackles). The Patriots had terrible weapons last season; we're talking historically bad Tight End production. With 60ish million in cap space and the 15th overall, pick to quote the late Mrs. Doubtfire, "help is on the way, dear" in either weapons, the Patriots QB of the future, OR trading down to draft more DBs who couldn't cover a book.
You're entitled to your own opinion, but personally, I'm excited Cam is coming back. If he sucks, it's one year, big whoop. We're due for some lean years after the previous 20. It'll only make you appreciate the next playoff run even more. I know I took them for granted, and last season was a nice dose of reality. Please don't forget that Cam went 7-8 last year with no help and some self-inflicted wounds! This team was like a half dozen plays away from winning 10 games. Even with the opt-outs, the defense was 7th in points allowed, and we know how great the special teams are.
Belichick doesn't want to continue to get shown up by people who think the Patriots are finished or that it was "all Brady". Don't you think he has a portfolio of every negative thing said about him and the Patriots last season? He's ready to prove himself without Brady. Yes, Brady is the greatest QB of all time, but Bill's out to show that he also played for the greatest coach ever. Next comes reloading the weapons, but none of that was going to happen before there was a QB answer on this roster. As of now, the Patriots have one, but this deal still leaves the possibility of adding another guy, whether it be through free agency or the draft, hell Bill might even make a trade. At the very least, I get another year out of that jersey. Hopefully, it will be loose by the time the season starts!