After waiting until the summer to sign with a team last offseason, Cam Newton was intent on making his free agent experience as quick as possible in 2021. Mission accomplished. As the NFL gears up for the start of the legal tampering period and the new league year kicking off next week, Newton re-signed with the Patriots on a one-year deal that will keep him in Foxborough through the 2021 season. As we've noted here before, New England was likely the best landing spot for Newton in terms of a destination where he has the best opportunity to start and he's now putting himself in a position to bounce back from a so-so 2020 campaign.
With his free agency now wrapped up, you can check out a quick scouting reporter of what the Patriots are retaining in the former league MVP and a date-by-date breakout of all the developments that led to his return to New England.
Scouting report on Newton (pros and cons)
- True red-zone weapon with his legs
- Can galvanize a locker room
- Inconsistent as a passer
- Accuracy a bigger issue than completion percentage suggests
- Won't win you games with his arm
Free agent timeline
Cam Newton re-signs with Patriots
March 12: According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, the Patriots have re-signed Cam Newton to a one-year deal. The contract is reportedly said to be worth $14 million but is largely based on incentives. This moves now somewhat solidifies the quarterback position for the Patriots while Newton gets a much further head start with New England than he did a season ago when he signed mid-summer.
Bill Belichick continues to sing Newton's praises
Feb. 27: Bill Belichick stood by Cam Newton throughout the 2020 season and showed tremendous loyalty even when the quarterback was struggling mightily. That positive outlook on Newton seems to be carrying over into the offseason as Ben Volin of The Boston Globe reports that Belichick has continued to sing the veteran's praises.
"Multiple sources who have spoken with Belichick this offseason said he does nothing but rave about Newton and the effort the quarterback put forth in 2020," Volin writes. "The only problem Belichick is concerned with is Newton's arm strength, with Newton having suffered multiple shoulder injuries in the last five years. In 2019, Newton acknowledged on his YouTube channel that his injuries sapped his ability to throw downfield. But Belichick did seem to genuinely enjoy coaching Newton, and multiple sources said they would not be surprised to see Newton back with the Patriots, especially if he's willing to take another cheap contract (though probably not minimum salary again). But everyone also expects the Patriots to draft a quarterback in the first few rounds."
Cam Newton won't retire, open to a reunion with the Patriots
Feb. 23: During an appearance on the 'I Am Athlete" podcast, Newton noted that he "can't go out like that," signaling that he has no plans on retiring from the NFL after a mediocre year with the Patriots. Speaking of New England, the quarterback was pretty emphatic when asked if he'd be willing to return to Foxborough to suit up with the Patriots.
"Yes. Hell yes," Newton said. "I'm getting tired of changing. I'm at the point in my career where I know way more than I knew last year."
Newton also added that he believes there are not 32 quarterbacks better than him right now, meaning that he expects to start somewhere in the league in 2021.