The New England Patriots and starting quarterback Cam Newton are running it back one more time, with both sides agreeing to a one-year deal for the 2021 season, sources told ESPN.
Newton can make up to $14 million on the one-year deal, with about $6 million of that tied to incentives, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Mike Reiss.
The former NFL MVP announced his return to Beantown in an Instagram video that included the caption: “Run it back!! Chapter 2.”
Newton had signed a very modest one-year deal to join the Patriots last offseason after nine years with the Carolina Panthers and indicated recently that he would be open to returning to New England even if it was on a one-year deal, citing his unwillingness to join his third different team in three years.
“I’m getting tired of changing [teams],” Newton said. “I am at a point in my career where I know way more than I did last year. Yes, I would go back.”
The 32-year-old’s first season with the Pats certainly had its ups and downs. He started out well, winning two of his first three games while contributing six total touchdowns. Then he tested positive for COVID-19, and it all went downhill from there.
Newton said that it was tough to get back up to speed after that considering he had only been studying the Patriots offense—which is already complex enough—since June, when he was signed. The dropoff in his play after his COVID diagnosis was noticeable, which he said only further reinforced his sentiments about staying with the same team and spending a full, real offseason working with them.
Through the air, the Auburn alumnus contributed 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Those numbers were not good enough by Newton or New England’s standards, though a lack of any sort of quality at the wide receiver and tight end positions didn’t help his case.
Newton’s 597 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing during the 2020 campaign were, however, exactly the type of production team and player should like to see on the ground from Newton going forward.
The Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last season, and will be in tough to avoid the same fate in 2021. They’re only sporting +450 NFL odds (888sport) to win the AFC East next year, which is a division they had won in 16 of the past 17 campaigns. Their +4000 odds to win the Super Bowl are not even worth entertaining.
Newton was somewhat forced out of Carolina after the 2019 season. He had missed two games in 2018 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery, and was sidelined for another 14 during the 2019 season with a foot fracture.
The Atlanta, Georgia native had been drafted number one overall by the Panthers back in 2011 after having won the Heisman Trophy in 2010. He went on to a nine-year career in Carolina during which he won MVP and led the franchise to the Super Bowl in 2015.
He left the Panthers as their all-time leader in pass completions (2,371), pass yards (29,041), pass touchdowns (182), and rushing touchdowns (58). He also holds the NFL record for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with 70 ground trips to paydirt through a decade in the league.