The New England Patriots have been among the most popular potential landing spots for star free agent Cam Newton. The former NFL MVP is the highest profile player on the market right now.
Newton was let go by the Carolina Panthers this offseason. With new head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady joining the franchise, they decided to go in a new direction. Rather than scrap things down and draft a quarterback, they signed former New Orleans Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater.
There are very few obvious quarterback spots available. The Patriots have indicated that they're content moving forward with second-year QB Jarrett Stidham, though it is hard to see Newton and not think he's a likely upgrade. The Pats have the best odds to sign him, and quite a few people have floated that as his eventual destination at this point.
Put NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck on that list. The former Boston College star and Massachusetts native said as much during a recent appearance on WEEI. He thinks Newton would be a major upgrade, even if he isn't the most obvious successor to Tom Brady in the Patriots offense.
"Here’s how I see it with Cam, and I’m not saying Cam is the perfect guy to do things the Patriot way, but he’s won a lot," Hasselbeck said during the appearance. "I don’t have the numbers in front me but it’s something like (58) rushing touchdowns. That’s a lot of production. The passing is pretty good too. The passing isn’t amazing, but when you combine that with how you have to defend him differently because of his ability as a runner."
Newton's injury history is definitely a concern. Hasselbeck also believes Newton should make sure to get fair market value. Still, he sees a fit here. Via 247Sports:
"Then you mention the money, I think that’s part of his situation too," Hasselbeck said. "If I’m Cam Newton I’m not signing anything less than Philip Rivers’ deal with is one-year, $25 million which is probably getting half of it at signing which means you’re talking about a roughly $13 million bonus on a one year deal. You have to be sure about his foot in that situation.
"If I were Cam I would be trying to get to New England, and if the way I see it I think New England should want him."
Newton presents a risk, but it would definitely make New England even more intriguing heading into 2020.