By Michael Grimm
The New England Patriots signed quarterback Cam Newton last night, and the following questions immediately come to mind:
Is Pats coach Bill Belichick that smart, which isn’t really a question — of course he is!
And does the 30-year-old Newton have enough left in his surgically repaired body to help the Tom Brady-less Pats?
And should QB Jarrett Stidham be renting and not buying?
In a move that seems to make sense for both sides, the former NFL MVP has agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots that is short on up-front cash but loaded with incentives.
Newton’s contract with the team is a “bare minimum” deal, but can be worth up to $7.5 million, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
For Newton, the contract is a chance to prove he can still be a high-level quarterback in the NFL as well as an opportunity to be mentored by the best coach in football in Belichick.
For New England, a one-year deal with Newton gives them a theoretical chance to compete for the Super Bowl this season and gives the team another year to see if second-year quarterback Stidham can develop into a franchise QB.
This union, of course, comes as no surprise. Everybody wrote about it when Tom Brady bolted for Tampa and the Carolina Panthers sent Newton packing in a seven-day span in late March.
It just made too much sense — for both sides.
Newton, the one-time face of the league, now sports a massive chip on his surgically repaired right shoulder. Belichick, meanwhile, enters the 2020 season with similar motivation.
Both have been counted out.
The Panthers wrote off Newton despite a body of work in nine seasons that included four playoff appearances, a trip to the Super Bowl and an MVP campaign.
The NFL world has discounted Belichick and his Patriots following Brady’s departure, disregarding his legendary résumé and six Lombardi Trophies.
Newton’s critics believe nine seasons of pounding have rendered his 6-5, 245-pound frame virtually useless. The critics of Belichick and the Patriots eagerly anticipate their demise as younger, more explosive teams have overtaken them.
But here they stand — Newton and Belichick — both stubbornly embracing the next challenge rather than riding off into the sunset.
Both stand to reap handsome rewards for their patience.