Report: Patriots Signed Cam Newton Because His Contract Demands Got Cheaper
The big question that remains after the New England Patriots signed quarterback Cam Newton Sunday evening: Why bring Newton in now?
Well, it's because his demands were lessened. Jeff Howe of The Athletic explains:
Interestingly, earlier this offseason, the Patriots hadn’t expressed any substantial interest in signing Newton. That changed as he softened his contract demands, according to a source. After all, it wouldn’t have made any sense for the Patriots to sit idly by with Newton throughout the nine-week offseason virtual workout program and then abruptly change course now in the dead point of the calendar – unless, obviously, there was a drastic adjustment from Newton.
New England and Newton agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal that is worth up to $7.5 million, according to Howe. But Howe also mentioned that he was told the team did not have to make any corresponding transactions after signing Newton, and instead the Patriots will attempt to restructure some of their players' contracts in order to free up cap space.
Howe emphasized that he was told this move was not a knock on Jarrett Stidham, who was the projected starter before Newton joined the team.
A source also implied the signing of Newton has nothing to do with Stidham’s performance. Considering the Patriots just conducted a virtual offseason workout program without any official on-field work, that rationale checks out.
It made sense that for a better part of the offseason Newton wouldn't budge on his contract demands. The 2015 MVP can still play at a high level when healthy. But the problem is, at 31 years old he is coming off a season in which he was placed on injured reserve and prior to that had his fair share of injuries.
It was looking more and more likely as the weeks went on that Newton was going to remain a free agent heading into training camp, so he took a lesser deal than he previously wanted to prove his worth with a new team.