Sunday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the New England Patriots would be signing former NFL MVP Cam Newton to a one-year, incentive-based deal. Newton is expected to compete for the starting job against Jarrett Stidham.
Newton, despite his immense talent, was not able to command much from a contractual standpoint. Why? He’s suffered a number of injuries over the past few seasons and he essentially needs to prove his worth on the field again before a franchise is going to pay him a lot of money.
Let’s take a look at Newton’s injury history the past few years:
In March of 2017, Newton had surgery on his throwing shoulder to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. He recovered in time to play all 16 games of the 2017 season, throwing for 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
In Week 10 of the 2018 season, Newton was hit by Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt as he went to throw the ball downfield. While he did not leave the game, looking back, it’s clear that some kind of damage was done. Newton was never himself the rest of the season, and the Panthers lost their next six games. Newton didn’t play in the team’s final two games of the season, and Carolina finished 7-9.
Eu sou o Cam Newton e a vida é o Tj Watt pic.twitter.com/F3Bh0hAz8e
— BIG MASEI (@nuncaserie_c) November 9, 2018
In January of 2019, Newton went under the knife again on his throwing shoulder – and this time, it was a more complex surgery. Still, he was on expected to return in time for the 2019 season.
However, in Newton’s third preseason game, he sprained his left foot. Then, in his team’s second game of the season, he reaggravated the injury. It was later determined he’d suffered a Lisfranc injury.
Newton didn’t recover quickly, and in November, he was placed on injured reserve. He had surgery in December to fix the issue.
Carolina, after hiring a new coach in Matt Rhule, announced they’d be open to trading Newton in the aftermath. In March, they released him.
If Newton can stay healthy, he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But he’s had three straight seasons that involved some kind of surgery – which doesn’t bode well for the future.
That said, if there’s anyone who can get the most out of an aging, injury-prone star, it’s Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. It’s going to be fascinating to watch how he handles the quarterback room this fall.