After months of speculation, it is actually happening. Cam Newton is going to be a New England Patriot.
ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen broke news of the deal, which is said to be a one-year, incentive-laden agreement. Newton will now have a chance to compete to replace the legendary Tom Brady.
In New England, the 31-year-old former league MVP will join second-year pro Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer in the quarterback room. Throughout the offseason, the Patriots and Bill Belichick insisted that the team was committed to Stidham, who saw a handful of snaps in relief of Brady last year.
However, ever since the Carolina Panthers released Newton in March, the whispers about him and the Patriots persisted. Reporters, analysts, former and current players and many fans continued to point to New England as an obvious fit for the 2011 No. 1 overall pick.
Now, we'll get to see how right or wrong they all were.
As backup opportunities dwindled around the league, there were multiple reports that Newton was taking his time in signing somewhere, believing that he could still be a quality starter.
"For what it’s worth, Newton has told people that he’s not looking to go to a place as a firm No. 2 or in a mentoring type of role for a younger quarterback — and for obvious reasons." Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer wrote recently. "He still believes he can play, and that he is a starter."
Considering all these reports, it seems unlikely that Cam Newton would sign with the Patriots if he didn't feel like he'd have a legitimate chance to earn the starting job. On paper, it seems like a win-win for all parties.
If injuries really have taken their toll on Newton and he is washed up, the Patriots risked nothing to bring him. On the flip side, if he regains his past form and plays well, they got an upgrade over Stidham for cheap. Also, in that case, Newton could set himself up for a nice payday next offseason.
In 125 career games over nine seasons, Newton has thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He's also rushed for 4,806 yards and an additional 58 scores.