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Grading Cam Newton’s move to the Patriots

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In the end, Cam Newton and the New England Patriots made too much sense for each other. In a league in which every other starting quarterback opportunity was full, the Patriots gave the former NFL MVP his only realistic chance of being a Week 1 starter on a competitive team. And while I don’t doubt that the Patriots still believe Jarrett Stidham is capable of being a starter at the NFL level, the chance to acquire the 2015 MVP when the alternatives were Stidham and Brian Hoyer was always going to interest coach Bill Belichick at the right price.

We might never know whether Belichick delayed the timing of the Newton signing to coincide with the news that the Patriots had lost a third-round pick from the latest in their series of league investigations, but by the time we get to September, it won’t matter. New England might have come away with the bargain of the offseason by agreeing to terms with Newton on a one-year deal, reportedly for the league minimum. Newton also can reportedly make up to $7.5 million in incentives, before he would presumably be able to hit the market again under far better circumstances in 2021.

Jump to the grade for the deal

The facts about Newton’s post-MVP career

To start, there’s very little risk here for the Patriots. They have only about $1.8 million in cap room, so depending on how the incentives are structured, they might need to create additional space to get Newton under contract. They can achieve that by extending guard Joe Thuney or cutting someone such as Rex Burkhead, Deatrich Wise Jr. or Jermaine Eluemunor. If Newton gets hurt or isn’t able to beat out Stidham, New England would presumably be out only about $1 million. When you consider that the organization paid Antonio Brown more than $9 million for one game last season, you can see just how little the Patriots have to lose by adding Newton.

Of course, that’s the $7 million question. If we knew that Newton was healthy, there’s little chance he would be available in the market for the league minimum. He hasn’t been healthy for a regular-season snap since the first half of 2018, and with the coronavirus rampaging through America this spring and summer, no team has been able to get Newton in for a workout or a physical. It was going to be impossible for a team to commit to him as its starter on significant money, even if he is a better option than someone like Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew.

The chances of a healthy — or at least much healthier — version of Newton showing up for the Patriots this season are much better than some would suggest. The idea that he hasn’t been a valuable quarterback since his 2015 MVP campaign is a product of selective memory. Let’s take a quick look back through recent history to explain why I’m optimistic.

Newton wasn’t very good in 2016, when an injury-riddled Carolina Panthers team fell from 15-1 to 6-10. His line was beaten up by injuries, and his top wide receiver was Kelvin Benjamin, who is now out of football. The Denver Broncos laid waste to Newton in their Super Bowl rematch in Week 1, and he would eventually miss time with a concussion before returning to the field. He finished 25th in QBR that year at 47.1, falling just below then-Miami Dolphins starter and recently successful reclamation project Ryan Tannehill at 48.6. (If you think Newton was done because of his injury history, consider that Tannehill tore an ACL at the end of that season, did it again the following offseason, missed time with a capsule injury in his shoulder in 2018 and still earned a massive contract after getting a chance to play in 2019.)

In 2017, while Newton didn’t return to his MVP form, he was still a useful quarterback. Despite losing Greg Olsen for most of the season and general manager Dave Gettleman choosing to make a disastrous investment in left tackle Matt Kalil, Newton finished the year 19th in QBR at 51.5. He was effective enough as a passer and runner to lead a Panthers team to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.

In Week 4 of 2017, he delivered one of his most impressive performances of the season. The former Auburn star went 22-of-29 for 316 yards with three touchdowns and an interception while adding 44 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground in beating the Patriots at Foxborough 33-30. Newton won his prior game against the Pats in 2013, as well. His combined line against Belichick has seen him post a passer rating of 128.2, while also carrying the ball 15 times for 106 yards. I don’t think Belichick makes his decision based on two games, but the man knows how difficult a healthy Newton can be to stop.

In the hopes of keeping him healthy and building a more effective offense around the combination of his skills with those of running back Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers made changes during the 2018 offseason. In came Norv Turner, who surprisingly installed a more modern offense than the one Newton ran under Mike Shula. The Panthers used their top two picks on wideouts in DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel, although the latter also was injured. Olsen still missed time, and the offensive line was cobbled together as a result of injuries, but there was more around Newton than there had been over the prior three seasons.

Newton played excellent football through the first half of 2018. With Carolina sitting pretty at 6-2 in the NFC South, he was 10th in the league in passer rating (100.8) and 12th in QBR (63.1). Often one of the deepest average passers in football, he was given shorter passes to throw and magically improved his completion percentage to 67.3. The former first overall pick was averaging nearly four touchdowns for every interception and producing nearly 280 yards from scrimmage per game. He was fourth on my midseason MVP ballot that year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Panthers 52-21 in Week 10. Pretty quickly, it became clear that Newton’s right shoulder was a problem. He struggled to make throws with zip over the second half of the season, and while he battled through the injury before eventually sitting out in late December, the Panthers collapsed during the second half. He underwent shoulder surgery after the season.

It’s important to make this distinction, because if you weren’t paying attention to the Panthers last summer and into the preseason, you might have missed an important piece of information. By all accounts, Newton healed from that shoulder injury. One report from camp lauded the return of his deep ball, which had gone missing as a result of the shoulder injury the prior year. He looked to be back on schedule to return as the Panthers’ primary quarterback, and while I’m sure there would have been some growing pains, there was no suggestion that he was still being bothered by his shoulder when the next injury struck.

Newton suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot in a preseason loss to Belichick’s Patriots. He sat out the remainder of the preseason before returning for Week 1, but when I watched Newton play against the Los Angeles Rams, I didn’t see a quarterback who was struggling for velocity or arm strength. From how he was moving and how many passes he sailed over his receivers, it was clear he wasn’t comfortable planting his foot. After the issue was even more obvious during a Thursday night loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following week, the Panthers shut him down. When the injury didn’t heal with rest, the Panthers placed Newton on injured reserve, ending his season.

While a Lisfranc injury can be disastrous for receivers, it’s not typically a career-impacting injury for quarterbacks. Matt Schaub hit injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury in 2011 and returned to make the Pro Bowl the following season. Taysom Hill suffered a Lisfranc injury in college, and while it cost the BYU quarterback most of his senior year, he has been able to return and move just fine. Newton should be recovered from both the 2018 shoulder surgery and the 2019 foot surgery.

Is it possible Newton has simply taken too many hits and has grown brittle? I suppose, but we have plenty of examples of quarterbacks who suffered multiple serious injuries and were still able to rebuild their career. Tannehill, who is nearly a year older than Newton, comes to mind. Randall Cunningham dealt with an ACL injury in an era in which it was far more career-threatening and came back at 35 to deliver an All-Pro season for the Minnesota Vikings. Steve McNair battled through injury after injury and was a Pro Bowl-caliber passer at age 32 and 33. I don’t know whether Newton will get back to his old self, but it’s premature to write him off.

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Adam Schefter breaks down how the Patriots managed to strike a deal with former MVP quarterback Cam Newton.

What could the Patriots’ offense look like?

A healthy Newton has to be considered the favorite to win the starting quarterback job in New England. Stidham was about to become the second player in league history taken after pick No. 100 to start for his team in Week 1 of his second season after not starting as a rookie. While the Patriots were optimistic enough about Stidham’s chances to avoid making a more significant move before now, the most we can say about the 2018 fourth-rounder is that he represented something totally unknown.

Before the Newton signing, there was already evidence that the Patriots were going to change their offense. Even the most optimistic Patriots fan couldn’t suggest that Stidham was going to be Tom Brady. He wasn’t going to have Brady’s accuracy, experience reading defenses or ability to avoid turnovers. That was never going to happen.

What the Patriots did this offseason, instead, was build around a more run-heavy attack. They put the franchise tag on Thuney, meaning that the Pats are set to spend nearly $28 million on guards this season, $6.5 million more than any other team. They got back David Andrews after their starting center missed the entire season with a pulmonary embolism; signed fullback Danny Vitale to replace the retiring James Develin; and then used a pair of third-round picks on tight ends Dalton Keene and Devin Asiasi, both of whom are regarded as plus blockers.

With Stidham, this offense would have likely looked something akin to a modern version of the attack the Patriots ran in 2001, when they had something closer to a 50/50 run/pass split. Brady’s job was to convert friendly third downs and protect the football. It worked: The Patriots were 11th in offensive DVOA and won a Super Bowl with a defense that was only 13th in DVOA. The 2020 Patriots should be much better than that on defense. That formula was going to be competitive with the Buffalo Bills for a division title even before adding Newton.

If Newton does win the job, the Patriots probably will build something closer to the offense he was working under during his time with Turner in Carolina. With the Panthers trying to get the ball out of Newton’s hands quicker, the concerns about accuracy and efficiency that might have otherwise made him and the Patriots seem like a bad fit went away. Newton had just four interceptions and four fumbles over the first half of the 2018 campaign. That’s an outlier given the rest of his career, but it’s also the only time Carolina didn’t have a healthy Newton in an offense when the Panthers were expecting him to average 10 air yards per pass attempt.

You could also see the Patriots borrow concepts that have worked elsewhere. It wouldn’t be shocking if they were to steal some ideas out of the Greg Roman playbook for Lamar Jackson and use heavy doses of motion to manipulate teams and create opportunities for Newton as a runner. New England has always been aggressive with trying to stay ahead of the offensive curve and attempting to build its offense around what is undervalued. In 2007, the team traded for Randy Moss and Wes Welker and incorporated a spread attack. Three years later, it drafted Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and the offense shifted into becoming 12 personnel. When Chip Kelly took hold with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Patriots were one of the first teams to really emphasize pace and tempo, even before Kelly joined the league. The Baltimore Ravens might have beaten the Patriots to the punch, but Belichick isn’t going to write off the league’s most effective offense as a gimmick.

What it all comes back to for me is this: When the Patriots haven’t been able to simply blow past teams with talent like they could in 2007, their core offensive concept has been versatility. Because they’ve had Gronkowski, Develin, Julian Edelman and a variety of versatile running backs, the Patriots have always been able to create a mismatch. They could go three- or four-wide and still have the blocking ability to run the football effectively. When they sent out 22 personnel and made it look like they were going to run the ball, they had the athletes to motion out or work off of play action and beat an opponent’s base defense in the passing game. It’s how the Patriots won their last Super Bowl.

Last year, with Gronkowski retired, Develin injured and a replacement-level group of tight ends, the Patriots didn’t have that ability to disguise their intentions with their personnel or the flexibility to shift from one concept to the other. They might have wanted to run the ball more effectively, but when Sony Michel was in the game, they ran it 67% of the time; only two players (who played 300 offensive snaps or more) were better indicators of whether their team was going to run the ball, and one of them was Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard. When James White came in, the Pats threw the ball 81.8% of the time; only three other players were a more obvious tell. New England suffered both running and throwing the football.

The Patriots didn’t get Gronkowski back this offseason, but by replenishing at fullback and tight end, they were able to restore some semblance of versatility. By adding Newton to replace Brady, they’ve upgraded that versatility and added uncertainty at the one position where they didn’t have it during the Gronkowski era. They were fine without Brady as a run threat given everything else he could bring to the table; but if Newton is healthy, he can give them a runner who can barrel through undersized boxes out of 10 or 11 personnel or someone who can take advantage as a passer when teams load up the box to stop the run. In that sense, he is less a replacement for Brady and more a replacement for Gronkowski.

The grade: A-minus

Having said all that, while the Patriots aren’t incurring much financial risk by signing Newton, there is an opportunity cost that drops this grade ever so slightly. Naturally, there’s a chance he fails his physical, which would render this whole thing a waste of time while simultaneously jabbing at Stidham’s confidence. If Newton stays healthy enough to soak up the majority of the preseason reps with the ones and then suffers a season-ending injury in Week 2, the Patriots will have wasted their time when Stidham could have desperately used those snaps.

Even if Newton does stay on the field and plays well enough to start, there’s a chance this doesn’t move the needle for the Patriots. If Newton is the 24th-best quarterback in football, they will probably go 9-7 and not be good enough to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs, and they will likely move on from Newton after the season without having found their long-term quarterback. They would then enter next year with the same questions about Stidham and their future at the position, only with Stidham a year closer to free agency and the market much less likely to bear starting options.

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Dan Orlovsky breaks down how Cam Newton will be utilized with the Patriots, saying Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will find new ways to use his skill set.

In that dream scenario in which Newton stays healthy and the Patriots compete for a Super Bowl, there’s still some modest downside for the team. They were unable to convince Newton to sign a multiyear deal or get any sort of option on him for 2021 if he excels as the starter. It’s unclear whether the Pats will have the right to franchise him after the season if he does return to form. They’ll be able to afford a tag for him, given that the Pats are projected with more than $86 million in cap space, but if his camp negotiated a tag refusal as part of this deal, the Patriots won’t have a lot of leverage in re-signing him.

This is an obviously smart move for the Patriots, even if it doesn’t work out. Merely having Newton on their roster when he could have served as a high-upside backup for such rivals as the Bills, Ravens, Steelers, Chiefs and Tennessee Titans would have been worth what the Patriots are paying him. For the Patriots to add a starter with Newton’s upside this late in the process is almost a cliché. This has a strong case to become the best free-agent signing of the offseason.



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Cam Newton fantasy football outlook and projection as a New England Patriot

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The New England Patriots replaced one former NFL MVP — Tom Brady — with another on Sunday when they signed Cam Newton to help fill the void left by Brady.

Newton, 31, signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal worth up to $7.5 million, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

The structure of the contract, as well as Newton’s injury-ruined 2019 campaign followed by a lengthy wait to sign a contract, suggest he cannot be considered a lock to start ahead of second-year Jarrett Stidham. Patriots NFL Nation reporter Mike Reiss agreed, noting that both Newton and Stidham are wild cards and that he views it as “a true open competition.”

So, the question is, how do we adjust our thinking in fantasy?

Mike Clay’s fantasy outlook: For now, I’m projecting Newton for 13 starts and Stidham for three. That would assume a healthy Newton wins the competition, but it also hedges for both injury and the possibility that he simply isn’t the same player he was during his prime.

New England has called a pass-first offense during 11 of the past 13 seasons, but the tea leaves suggest a switch to a run-first attack in 2020. Those leaves include the Newton signing, the league’s heaviest financial investment in the guard position and a pair of third-round draft picks spent on tight ends. This likely conversion obviously takes away some appeal from top pass-catchers Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, James White and Mohamed Sanu Sr., though that’s mostly offset by a much more attractive quarterback depth chart.

That might seem like an odd thing to say about a quarterback more known for his rushing ability than his arm, but keep in mind that Newton had arguably his best season as a passer the last time he was healthy. During that 2018 campaign with the Carolina Panthers, Newton was more conservative (career-low 7.3 yards for average depth of throw), but that led to a career-high 68% completion percentage and a solid 7.2 YPA. Newton was still an effective rusher that season (488 yards and four touchdowns on 101 attempts in 14 games) and finished in the top eight in fantasy points per game for the seventh time in eight seasons.

Last season was a different story, as a preseason foot injury limited Newton to two games. Newton was not the same player, carrying the ball only five times for negative-2 yards after ranking no lower than fourth among QBs in rushing attempts, yardage and touchdowns in each of the previous eight seasons.

Prior to 2019, Newton had missed only five of 128 possible games since entering the league, though it’s fair to wonder if 929 carries during the span have taken a toll.

All that being said, Newton very much needs to be on your radar as an upside flier in fantasy drafts. There’s a reasonable chance that a healthy Newton — who offers a very high floor because of his rushing ability, working with an elite coaching tandem of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels — can quickly rejoin the QB1 conversation. Even better, his average draft position is unlikely to get out of control considering the aforementioned question marks and the many safer options at the position. If Newton doesn’t win the job or struggles, you can easily cut bait with minimal value lost. However, if he returns to form, you have yourself a steal.

As for the other members of the New England offense, I’m not moving the needle much. Edelman, White and Sony Michel are fine mid-round targets, with Harry and Damien Harris intriguing late-round fliers. The tight ends can be ignored, as can Stidham, who should be on rosters in only two-QB and dynasty leagues.

2020 Cam Newton 13-start projection: 269-of-432, 2,972 yards, 17 TDs, 10 INTs, 71 carries, 358 yards, 3 TDs.

Stephania Bell’s health outlook: Heading into the 2019 season, the Panthers weren’t worried about Newton’s shoulder injury that had caused him to miss the final two games of the 2018 campaign and required surgery. He had rehabbed diligently, worked on the little things to help make him a better thrower (especially better than the one he had been when the shoulder was not cooperating, which had forced him to literally torque the rest of his body to try to deliver the ball). He entered 2019 making all the throws in practice that he would need to make in a game.

Of course, once he injured his left foot, he was never the same. Even though it was a stable, midfoot injury and therefore appeared as if it would get better with time, it ultimately did not. Newton opted for surgery, undergoing a modified (less complex) Lisfranc procedure. Given the coronavirus pandemic, all we have to go by as far as his workouts is Newton’s Instagram account, but that actually gives a pretty good indication that his foot is fully recovered.

Will Newton be able to put it all together on the field? I don’t see why not. He’s certainly out to prove that he has still got it, and the recovery time from not playing the majority of last season undoubtedly helps. Will he hold up? That’s much tougher to answer, because the Cam we know only plays one way — and that physical contact combined with his history makes him a higher risk than if he were 10 years younger.

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Are long field goals next frontier for the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker? – Kansas City Chiefs Blog

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It took many tries and a strong wind at his back, but Harrison Butker made a 77-yard field goal this spring while working out at a Kansas City-area park.

It was the longest successful kick of Butker’s career, practice or otherwise, surpassing the 72-yarder he made in warm-ups before the Kansas City Chiefs‘ game last November in the altitude of Mexico City.

Consistency, not range, has already made Butker one of the most accomplished kickers in team history. Butker’s field goal percentage of 89.7 since joining the Chiefs in 2017 is the franchise’s highest ever.

Butker has only two of the Chiefs’ 15 longest field goals, however, both coming last season. He made a 56-yarder last December against the Bears in Chicago and a 54-yarder on a windy November day at home against the Minnesota Vikings.

But his 77-yard try, even under favorable conditions, makes it natural to wonder whether the next frontier for Butker is longer kicks, maybe even threatening the NFL record for longest field goal of 64 yards, set by Denver’s Matt Prater in 2013.

“In terms of the NFL record, there are a ton of kickers that have the leg to make a field goal … in a game situation,” Butker said. “It’s just, does the coach want to put the kicker out there, because if he misses, now the other team gets the ball with great field position? So you kind of have to get set up with end-of-half, end-of-game situations. I don’t think we’ve had that situation where it would have been that long of a field goal. But I think definitely when it’s warm out, I’d be prepared to make that kick.

“I feel super comfortable kicking from distance. Obviously, we’re not going to be kicking field goals from [77 yards] most likely in a game, but it’s going to help me a lot when it’s a 55-yarder, wind’s in your face in January and February. That’s what I’m training for, to be able to make those kicks.”

Butker has been a success since joining the Chiefs in the middle of the 2017 season, when he was signed off the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers. He made a game-winning 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining on a Monday night against Washington in his NFL debut. He made 23 straight field goals at one point that season.

His longest field goal until late last season was a 54-yarder in 2018 against the Seattle Seahawks. He matched that last season against the Vikings on a day that then-Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, who served as Butker’s holder, called one of the trickiest of his career because of the wind.

“For kicking, in general, it’s hard to do that on days like [that],” Colquitt said of Butker, who also made a 44-yarder on the game’s final play to give the Chiefs a three-point victory. “He stuck with it, kept his head down, hit two big kicks for us.”

His success on kicks like that have the Chiefs warming to the idea of allowing Butker to attempt longer kicks, like the one he made at Soldier Field.

“It was a great kick,” special teams coordinator Dave Toub said of Butker’s 56-yard field goal in Chicago. “To do that in Soldier Field — I mean, the weather wasn’t brutal, but it wasn’t perfect, either. It was really impressive, what he did. That’s going to help him as far as confidence goes and going forward into the playoffs, that being the longest one that he has made in a game. He’s done a lot longer in practice. But in a game situation, that was his best. That was impressive.”

Butker has shown leg strength during in-game kickoffs. He hit an 80-yard kickoff last year in the playoffs against the Texans, a kick that was tied for longest in the NFL in 2019. Butker said he was better prepared to make longer kicks than he was when he joined the Chiefs.

“One thing I struggled with in Carolina and then in the 2017 season is I was getting under the sweet spot a lot, so the ball was spinning a ton,” he said. “It was going straight, which was great. I made a lot of kicks in 2017. [But] I had a 49-yarder against the Texans in 2017 where the ball barely went over the crossbar. So I had enough leg to make the kicks, but I’m not quite hitting the sweet spot. In 2018, I made some adjustments. I went from a jab two-step kicker to just a two-step kicker. … It wasn’t until probably 2019 that I felt super comfortable with it.

“I think 2019 was my best year. In 2017, I had a ton of kicks from 30 to 40 yards. In 2019, I had one missed kick under 40 and then I had like 17 kicks between 40 and 50 and was perfect on all of those, to my memory. Then I had a couple of misses from 50 and beyond, but I was really happy with how I performed in 2019. I obviously need to focus on the extra points.”

Just don’t look for any 77-yard field goal tries. He’ll leave those for offseason practice and windy days.

“In the offseason, that’s kind of when you’re messing around a little bit,” Butker said. “Typically, in a normal practice, I would never go back to that distance. I think when you start getting 77 yards, you’re doing some different things with your technique to get the ball as far as you can.

“I just kept pushing the ball back, and no, I wasn’t very accurate from back there, but I made one and it kind of went viral on social media. That was pretty fun to do.”



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Patriots can’t lose with incentive-laden deal for Cam Newton – New England Patriots Blog

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Cam Newton’s one-year, incentive-laden contract with the New England Patriots is mostly a no-lose situation in a post-Tom Brady world. So why wouldn’t the Patriots take the plunge?

If Newton is healthy, and performs at the high level he did when he won NFL MVP and led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50, he could be the Patriots’ starting quarterback and put them back into the conversation as one of the AFC’s elite teams.

If his previously injured foot doesn’t respond well, or his performance and fit in offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ system doesn’t measure up, there’s limited financial pain for the team in quickly moving on.

So with Newton willing to accept what the Patriots have to offer — a low-cost chance to battle with 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and 11-year veteran Brian Hoyer to be Brady’s replacement — it adds a stick of dynamite to what was already a compelling situation.

The Patriots have been high on Stidham, while some on the club have also acknowledged there’s always a blind spot with a young signal-caller until he actually plays. So now they protect themselves more at the game’s most important position, increasing competition, and seeing if Stidham rises up.

Meanwhile, Newton could have considered waiting for an injury somewhere in the NFL with more of a clear path to start. But his decision to come to New England on a prove-it type of deal reflects a desire to compete, which has to be appealing to coach Bill Belichick, who often says nothing is given and players ultimately earn their roles through their performance.

Belichick has always had respect for Newton as a competitor.

“When you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decisions — I mean, I would put Newton at the top the list,” Belichick said in 2017 prior to a game against the Panthers.

“Not saying that there aren’t a lot of other good players that do that, but I would say, of all the guys we play or have played recently in the last couple of years, he’s the hardest guy to deal with. He makes good decisions, he can run, he’s strong, he’s hard to tackle. He can do a lot of different things, beat you in a lot of different ways. We saw that in the game down there in ’13, so I would put him at the top of the list. Not saying the other guys aren’t a problem, because they are, but he’s public enemy No. 1.”

Can Newton can be that player in 2020, and also fit into the Patriots’ hard-driving culture?

His new teammates are intrigued to find out, with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tweeting two eyes as the news broke Sunday night.

Meanwhile, fellow cornerback Jason McCourty said on his “Double Coverage” podcast: “I’m excited. Bill always says it: ‘The goal for any good team is to have as many good players as possible.’ Cam Newton is a former MVP of this league, played in the Super Bowl, that caliber of a player. The better players we have in our locker room, the better we’re going to be able to go out there perform as a team.”

“I agree fully with you,” longtime captain Devin McCourty responded. “When you add a guy like Cam Newton, it makes our quarterback room even better. We’ve already spoken about it before — the poise, and the jump and the leap you expect for Stiddy to make. I think it will be interesting in training camp and competing, and all of that, that’s how we all get better. I would think adding him to the quarterback room with B. Hoyer, you have veterans in there, you have young guys in there, I think it will give us a really good chance to be good at that position.”

McCourty added one more thought: “It will be a fun year, if the year goes as expected and we have a season.”



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