As reported at the top of the hour, Cam Newton has officially inked a one-year contract with the New England Patriots. The deal will pay Newton up to $7.5 million, and will be mostly incentive-laden. This is major news for a franchise that just lost its Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, to free agency, as he signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in March.

What’s Next for New England and Newton

The Pats were slated to start Jarrett Stidham at quarterback, as he spent most of last season learning under Brady’s tutelage. The second-year pro out of Auburn didn’t show much in limited action, but has many in the Patriots organization buzzing with excitement. A fourth-round pick in 2019’s draft, Stidham will now likely enter a quarterback competition with Newton, as journeyman Brian Hoyer will fall to third on the depth chart.

New England would be wise to play Stidham in some capacity this season, as it’s the perfect opportunity to see if he can be a franchise quarterback. Newton will likely serve as a placeholder in what was initially slated to be a lost season for the Patriots. However, Cam is still more than capable of performing at a high level and getting back to his former MVP self, so it would be unwise to count the Patriots out just yet.

The signing is shocking, as many were jokingly speculating about New England’s interest in Newton throughout the offseason. This seems like a strange fit from a cultural perspective, as Brady’s character is the polar opposite of Cam’s.

Brady was calm, level-headed, and poised throughout his tenure in Foxboro, and could always be counted on to say the right things to the media. Newton, however, is prone to being overly emotional when times get tough, so it’ll be interesting to see how the marriage between him and Coach Belichick fares in the early going.

Overall, this seems like a strange fit for Newton, but hopefully, the time he spent unsigned will serve as a humbling experience and help make him a better teammate moving forward.

Season Outlook

It will be difficult to count the Patriots out in 2020, as Newton’s sudden arrival could bring some juice to this franchise, as the offense will now get a serious jolt given the dynamic athletic ability he brings to the quarterback position.

The AFC East has just been put on notice once again, as all bets are off as to who will emerge as divisional champs this season. The Buffalo Bills were the preseason favorites just last week to win the division, but now the odds are bound to trend back in New England’s direction.

With this signing, the Patriots have quickly become one of the most interesting teams in the league, as many expected them to take a major step back in 2020. If the offense can be just average next season with Newton under center, the Pats are in great shape to make the playoffs for a 12th straight season, as the defense remains on track to be one of the best units in football.

It will be interesting to see how New England’s preseason odds change this week, as they’re likely to see an uptick in their regular-season win total that was previously hovering 8.0 to 8.5.