NFL owners and general managers think a lot differently than many of the talking heads who push the most consumed narratives to football fans.
While many people might see Cam Newton as a bottom-of-the-barrel option, one NFL insider believes he is in line for a massive payday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter appeared on WEEI’s OMF and he projected Newton to generate a 2-year $40-50 million deal this offseason.
You may think that’s an exorbitant number, but at the end of the day, Newton’s value will be based on how much an NFL GM is willing to pay him for his services, and not on what the narrative has been the past 10 weeks in the media.
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Would the Patriots Pay Newton that Much?
Newton has repeatedly said his free-agent decision won’t be about money. That’s not to say he’ll allow himself to be disrespected, but we cannot assume that the Patriots would need to guarantee Newton a 2-year $50 million deal to retain him–even if there is a team that offers him that sort of contract.
Newton seemed to enjoy his time with the Patriots, despite the disappointing season. He also seemed to be genuinely stimulated by the challenge of winning in Boston and grasping a different system. All of those things and the loyalty Bill Belichick showed him might be enough to convince Newton to sign for less. It also wouldn’t appear as though Newton would be in a hurry to hop into a brand new system.
Making the switch from the things he ran in Carolina to what he was given in New England was apparently one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the 2015 NFL MVP. Another change would mean three different systems in three years, and at this point in his career, that can’t be an attractive option.
Washington Would Appear to Be the Major Threat
The Washington Football Team won the NFC East. That standing all but guarantees they will not be in a position to draft one of the elite quarterback prospects in this draft. That said, they are far from set at the position with Alex Smith as their current starter heading into the playoffs after the team released the disappointing Dwayne Haskins.
Washington also has Taylor Heinicke, Steven Montez, and Kyle Allen, but none of those names figure to beat Newton out for the starting job if he were to reunite with his former head coach Ron Rivera in D.C.
With Washington, Newton would have a strong running game led by Antonio Gibson and a true No. 1 receiver in Terry McLaurin. There’s also a beast on the other side of the ball in rookie pass-rushing sensation Chase Young. Washington still has the No. 19 pick in the draft, and could easily select an offensive lineman to help improve the pass protection and run blocking.
In totality, that figures to be the most likely landing spot for Newton if he bolts New England or isn’t asked to return. While a move to D.C. makes some sense, there would be something special about Newton leading the Patriots back to the postseason after having a full training camp and preseason to absorb the offense.
Thanks to 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and $63 million in cap space, New England also has the assets to add the weapons to make the job a little easier for Newton or any quarterback that replaces him.
Whether the contract is big or small, a return to the Patriots makes more sense than some would lead you to believe.
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