Newton was New England’s starter in 2020, and he very well could fill the same role next fall. Still, there’s no guarantee the team still doesn’t try to improve its situation at quarterback.
As ESPN’s Mike Reiss explains, Newton’s one-year deal could extend to a maximum of nearly $14 million based on incentives and how far the Patriots advance if they reach the playoffs.
However, Newton is only guaranteed $5.1 million if he’s on the roster as a backup and up to $6.6 million if he spends all season as the starter.
“So this isn’t the Patriots saying, ‘Cam is definitely our guy’ as much as it’s ‘We wanted someone in place before the start of free agency; we assessed all the free-agent options; and the idea of trying to build on 2020 with Cam — at a modest financial price — is the best choice right now based on the alternatives,'” writes Reiss.
Also, with the Patriots picking 15th in the NFL Draft, they’re going to continue to be linked to quarterback prospects such as Mac Jones or Trey Lance. New England may have to trade up to secure one of them though.
In the meantime, the organization at least knows it has a player in Newton with experience that it trusts to fall back on.