Patriots' Bill Belichick Discusses Cam Newton Contract: 'I'm Glad It Worked Out'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2020

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the media following an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick discussed the decision to sign veteran Cam Newton during a conference call Friday.

He addressed the Patriots' quarterback situation and how the Newton signing came about (begins at 10:30 mark):

"Things worked out. We spent quite a bit of time with Cam, and he spent quite a bit of time with us. I think it was a mutual interest. We [spoke to] quite a ... number of different people and had a number of different conversations just trying to see how the fit would be. It was very positive on our end, and I'm glad it worked out."

Newton signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with New England in June. The deal includes $550,000 guaranteed, $1.05 million in base salary and a roster bonus of $87,500 plus incentives.

The Carolina Panthers released Newton in March after signing Teddy Bridgewater to be their new starting quarterback. Newton spent nine years in Carolina after the Panthers took him first overall in the 2011 NFL draft.

Newton had some great moments, including three Pro Bowl nods and his MVP-winning 2015 season in which he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record and took them to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to the Denver Broncos.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

He hasn't been the same player since then, though, and the past two seasons have especially been a struggle.

Newton missed the final two games of the 2018 campaign with a shoulder injury that hindered his arm strength and required surgery. Last season, Newton played in only two games before undergoing foot surgery and missing the remainder of the year.

Even so, Newton was worth a flier, especially for the price the Patriots paid. With Tom Brady leaving the organization after 20 years and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, there is a huge hole in New England at the quarterback position.

Belichick suggested Friday that Newton is far from a shoo-in to be the starter in 2020, however: "That spot's the same as all the other spots on the team. We got a long way to go, and we'll see how things turn out. I can't control how players perform. That's up to them. We'll give everybody an opportunity and, you know, see what happens."

Newton is set to compete for the starting job with second-year man Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer.

Stidham, whom the Patriots selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft, was the likely choice to start before Newton was signed, and he still may, as he boasts plenty of potential and looked good in the preseason last year with 731 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception in four games.

Hoyer is a 34-year-old journeyman with 38 career regular-season starts across stints with the Pats, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. He is most likely to serve in a backup capacity.

Newton is by far the most accomplished quarterback on New England's roster, but given his injury issues in recent years, he may not be a slam dunk to start.