Cam Newton is playing a lot better than his price tag with the New England Patriots would suggest through the first two weeks of the regular season. The veteran quarterback inked a minimum one-year deal with the club this past summer that has a base salary of just $1.05 million. Newton does have $3.75 million in playing-time incentives, and if New England is able to win the Super Bowl that number will jump to $7.5 million. Even if he hits that max number, the Patriots are getting the bargain of all bargains under center.
With two weeks in the books, Newton's play as been far better than expected. He's top-10 among quarterbacks in completion percentage (71.4%) and passing yards (552) while also scoring four rushing touchdowns which are tied for the most in the NFL. That stellar play further emphasizes how much of a deal the Patriots are getting in Newton, who is making less guaranteed money than the likes of Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota, and Case Keenum, who are all backups. Despite that, Newton noted once again that the money aspect of his partnership with New England doesn't really mean that much to him at the moment.
"Surprisingly but true and factual enough, if I do what I am supposed to do, as I am expecting to, that will not be a topic of discussion here moving forward," Newton told WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" on Tuesday when asked about his contract. "Like I said, you're talking to a person who — money at this particular point in my career is not important, right? Let's be honest, I've made money. But for everything I play this game for, I haven't received yet. And that's why I'm playing. It's not about money, it's about respect.
"And especially going back to the negotiating table when this opportunity presented itself, I didn't want to keep going back-and-forth, this and that. I said, 'Listen, let's get the deal done. Let's do it.' For all that it's worth, it's going to pay dividends moving forward. I do believe this: a wise man once said, and that wise man is my father, 'All blessings do not come in financial means.' Just because you have money and do that, blessings come in many different forms than that. For me, if I do what I am supposed to do, everything else will take care of itself."
This strong play from Newton does have folks wondering what his future beyond 2020 will look like due to his one-year deal with the Patriots. New England, of course, could place the franchise tag on him or give him a long-term extension. The ladder scenario -- or really anything beyond the 2020 season -- is something that Newton isn't particularly focused on either, however.
"You must understand, that is literally the last of my worries and if we had to put an analogy in it, that is under so much work at my desk that I am not really too much focused on it," he said. "I do admire and love the culture of the Patriots. It's been a place for me that has been therapeutic. This is a place that has been rather challenging for my growth and is making me better. And also, it has been a place that has given me everything for my needs at this particular time in my life.
"Through it all, I am going to let the cards shuffle the way they shuffle and do the things that I can control."
If Newton continues to ball out the way he has over the last couple of weeks, he won't be at the bottom of the financial barrel among starting quarterbacks in the league. And the Patriots likely should be first in line to try and keep him in Foxborough over the long haul.