Cam Newton to Patriots Adds Intrigue to Seahawks 2020 Schedule
There's no such thing as an easy game in the NFL and considering their history as a perennial contender under coach Bill Belichick, there's no way Pete Carroll and the Seahawks would have been sleeping on the Tom Brady-less Patriots in Week 2.
When Seattle's scheduled initially came out, with New England set to break in a first-time starter in Jarrett Stidham as Brady's replacement, the matchup certainly looked like one of the more winnable ones on the slate. The dynamic certainly changed thanks to a familiar foe joining forces with Belichick on Sunday, however.
According to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the Patriots have agreed to terms with veteran quarterback Cam Newton on a one-year deal, adding a new layer of intrigue for their Week 2 prime time contest versus the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in mid-September.
Previously starring for the Panthers, Newton served as one of the Seahawks primary nemeses for close to a decade. The two teams played nine times over the past eight years, including twice in the playoffs, with the former first-round pick forming one of the most notable quarterback rivalries in the NFL against Russell Wilson.
For the most part, Seattle dominated the series against Carolina, winning five out of six regular season games since Wilson arrived as a third-round pick in 2012. But most of those games went down the wire and Newton got a slice of revenge by knocking the Seahawks out of the playoffs back in the 2015 Divisional Round, eventually leading his team to the Super Bowl.
Injuries have been a problem for the dual-threat quarterback over the past two seasons. After missing two games in 2018 with a shoulder issue, a Lisfranc fracture in his foot sidelined him for the final 14 games last year.
With a new coach in Matt Rhule replacing Ron Rivera, Carolina decided to go a different direction this offseason. The organization granted Newton permission to seek a trade, but when nothing came to fruition, he was released on March 24 and Teddy Bridgewater was signed as his replacement.
As former teammate and new Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen noted, the timing of Newton's release during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic hurt his chances of finding a new home quickly. Teams couldn't fly him in for a physical due to league-wide travel restrictions and several other veteran quarterbacks such as Nick Foles found jobs while he remained unsigned.
With training camps scheduled to start at the end of July, it started to look more and more possible Newton would have to settle for a backup job. Even Seattle had been linked to him as a possibility before re-signing Geno Smith.
Now, after a long wait heading into a season still clouded by uncertainty, Newton couldn't have possibly asked for a better landing spot given circumstances. While Stidham may still battle for the starting gig, the three-time Pro Bowler will have a great opportunity to resurrect his career with one of the league's signature franchises.
In the process, the rest of the AFC East has been put on notice that the Patriots may not be rebuilding after all and will be ready to compete for another division title. As for Wilson, Olsen, and the Seahawks, the addition of Newton turns their schedule up a notch on the difficulty scale early in the season.