Many in the media and sports fans across the United States speculated about a linkage between the New England Patriots and Cam Newton for a little over a month before the signing actually happened. What made Bill Belichick and Co. pull the trigger on the deal?
Belichick spoke for the first time about Newton, the signing and other situations on Friday in his first public comments on the subject during this tumultuous and strange NFL offseason.
What Bill Belichick Said About the Patriots Signing Cam Newton
Belichick was asked what drew him to signing Newton, but it seemed Belichick was cautious of not outwardly praising any of Newton’s talents or his accomplishments.
Instead, he said: “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 spent quite a bit of – a number of different people and a number of different conversations, just trying to see how the fit would be. It was very positive on our end. I’m glad it worked out.”
Obviously, the Patriots didn’t have the most stable QB situation, especially not for a team whose goal every season is to contend. Jarrett Stidham would have been the man to succeed Tom Brady, who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers via free agency, but a talented, veteran presence like Newton proved to be too much to resist–especially at such a cost-efficient rate.
Newton signed a one-year contract that offers a base salary of $1.05 million. Only $550,000 guaranteed. If Newton meets all of his incentives, he will make a max of $7.5 million, which would still be a bargain for a player at his position.
Would the Courtship of Newton Have Been Different if the Offseason Situation Was Normal?
Belichick was asked if the Newton signing might have gone differently during an offseason that was more normal.
“I mean, I don’t know. It wasn’t that way,” Belichick said. “I don’t know if it’d been different if it would have happened differently. I don’t know. I don’t see why it would have, but I’m not sure.”
How Will the QB Competition Be Handled?
When asked how the Patriots will determine the starting QB spot, he responded in a way that was expected.
“I think that’s about the same as all the other spots on the team,” Belichick said. “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 see what happens. So, I don’t know.”
This ambiguous response doesn’t change anyone’s opinion that the QB job is Newton’s to lose. If anything, it seems to further strengthen the concept because Belichick could be wary of killing Stidham’s confidence or pushing Newton to an inappropriate sense of comfort.
It’s going to be an interesting training camp.