Bill Belichick Called Norv Turner for Reference on Cam Newton Earlier This Year

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2020

En esta fotografía de archivo del 27 de octubre de 2019, el quarterback de los Panthers de Carolina Cam Newton en la banca durante la segunda mitad del partido de la NFL contra los 49ers de San Francisco, en Santa Clara, California. El 7 de abril del 2020 dijo en una conversación el lunes con Chris Paul que se siente como pez fuera del agua en la agencia libre.(AP Foto/Ben Margot, Archivo)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reportedly contacted several assistant coaches who worked with Cam Newton before signing the quarterback to a one-year contract over the weekend.

Norv Turner, who was the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator in 2018 and 2019, offered effusive praise when Belichick called him this spring, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated

"My whole deal is, when Cam was healthy, and we were there with him [in 2018], we were 6–2. Just look at the tape—played his ass off. His issue was more health than anything else, and from what I understand, I don’t think these are health issues that he can’t overcome. He’s had the time off now. I think he’ll be great."

Breer's report makes it clear Belichick has been considering signing Newton for some time. It's unclear why the two sides waited until deep into June before striking a deal, especially given the relative lack of better options available for both sides.

Newton threw for 1,893 yards and 15 touchdowns against four interceptions over the first eight games of the 2018 season. He hasn't been the same since suffering a shoulder injury, throwing nine touchdowns against nine picks in six games before being shut down in 2018 and looking like a shell of himself in two starts last season while dealing with a Lisfranc injury to his foot.

While Newton's playing style makes him more subject to wear-and-tear than a typical quarterback, he's still just 31 years old. Taysom Hill is viewed as a developmental player for the New Orleans Saints and is just one year and three months younger than Newton.

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The risk-reward proposition for the Patriots is a no-brainer. Newton will make a maximum of $7.5 million in 2020, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and  it's unlikely it will be easy to hit all of the incentives necessary to reach that number—especially given the Patriots' precarious cap situation. New England has only $1.3 million in space.

The Patriots were the only team that offered Newton both a chance to start and compete. While the Jacksonville Jaguars could have been a fit, they'll open 2020 with perhaps the worst roster in football. Newton will inherit an offense that's arguably better than the one Tom Brady had in 2019.

The Patriots went 12-4 last season despite Brady being an average-at-best quarterback. If Newton's healthy, there is no reason to presume he'll be any worse than Brady last season. 

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