As the 2020 NFL season winds down, there is increasing discussion about the New England Patriots‘ long-term quarterback plans. One two-time Super Bowl champion has a take on Cam Newton‘s future with the team.
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Phil Simms on Cam Newton: “I Believe He Will Be Their Quarterback Next Year
Newton was only signed to a one-year deal during the offseason, so he and the team can go their separate ways in 2021. However, there is some reason to believe this marriage has been a good one.
CBS analyst and former New York Giants great Phil Simms had high praise for Newton and a bold prediction for the 2015 NFL MVP’s future with the Patriots.
Cam Newton is the leader of the @Patriots football team and I believe he will be their quarterback next year.
— Phil Simms (@PhilSimmsQB) November 22, 2020
That take will be music to the ears of those in Pats Nation who love Newton, but it is poison to the fans who seem to love to hate the polarizing quarterback.
Newton “Isn’t the Problem”
The Patriots are in unfamiliar territory. The team is 4-6 and currently on the outside looking into the AFC’s playoff picture. They aren’t mathematically eliminated, but even the most optimistic Patriots fan would have to acknowledge postseason hopes are thin at this point.
Increasingly over the past few weeks, most NFL analysts seem to be adopting a similar tune. It’s hard to find anyone of merit who believes the majority of the team’s struggles can be attached to Newton.
When you look at these QB efficiency charts posted by USA Today’s Henry McKenna, you can see Newton has ranked in the same ballpark as Tom Brady throughout the season.
Tom Brady ($25M cap hit in 2020) and Cam Newton ($1M cap hit in 2020) have been almost exactly average when it comes to the advanced statistics, EPA and CPOE.
Brady has played even for most of the year. Newton has gotten much better over the last 4 weeks. pic.twitter.com/3PAduUxugM
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) November 24, 2020
While Newton has had his ups and downs, mostly due to a bout with COVID-19, he has played well enough for the Patriots to win most of their games, and you could argue his presence and talent played a major role in multiple wins so far this season.
He’s completing 68 percent of his passes and each week he’s showing the ability to make defenses pay down the field. That’s winning football, especially when you consider he hasn’t turned the ball over excessively, especially since gaining his wherewithal after the virus.
What Would it Take to Re-Sign Newton in 2021?
While the Patriots could theoretically chase a QB in free agency or draft someone at the position in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it seems practical for them to discuss a new deal with Newton. Perhaps he signs a two or three-year deal, the team still drafts a developmental guy but moves forward under the expectations that Newton will be the man again in 2021.
The way Newton and the Patriots finish the season will likely dictate how much the going rate is for the veteran QB on the open market. However, based on the positive relationship it appears Newton has with the Patriots’ coaching staff, he might be open to a salary-friendly deal that still enables the team to add some attractive weapons on both sides of the ball.
Newton wants to win a Super Bowl badly, and if he believes the Patriots give him the best opportunity, he’ll make every effort to stay, if they want him.
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