Draft Engine Expert Analysis
The New England Patriots shocked the world on Sunday night, signing 2015 league MVP Cam Newton to a one-year contract. The team had looked as though it was ready to turn to Jarrett Stidham at quarterback, but Bill Belichick clearly had other plans.
Newton's 2019 season was completely derailed by a foot injury, which ultimately paved the way for his departure from Carolina. The 31-year-old now has to show everybody that he still has what it takes to be one of the league's more productive quarterbacks.
In New England, Newton inherits one of the worst groups of receivers in football. Some of these guys are capable of making plays, but the Patriots do not have anybody that consistently go out and put up big numbers. Perhaps second-year receiver N'Keal Harry will get there eventually, but he's coming off a disastrous rookie campaign.
On top of the weak talent on the outside, there's also the fact that Newton might not be able to run the ball like he used to. Don't get me wrong, the Patriots will have some designed runs in their playbook. But it's hard to see the quarterback rushing for more than 30 yards per game, which is something he did regularly during his prime.
Overall, the signing of Newton undoubtedly makes the Patriots a much better football team. New England now has what it takes to make it to the playoffs, and possibly win a few games. But this isn't the same version of Newton that torched defenses early in his career. We have him right in the QB20 range heading into the season, although he does have a bit more upside than a few of the guys ranked in front of him.