Cam Newton fantasy football: ESPN updates its 2020 outlook for Patriots QB

Cam Newton fantasy football: ESPN updates its 2020 outlook for Patriots QB

Cam Newton's reported contract agreement with the New England Patriots has resulted in his odds of winning NFL MVP and the Comeback Player of the Year Award skyrocketing over the last 36 hours. 

His fantasy football outlook for the 2020 season also has changed.

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ESPN updated its fantasy projection for Newton following reports that he and the Patriots have agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal worth up to $7.5 million. He's ranked No. 26 on ESPN's ranking of the top quarterbacks for the upcoming fantasy season. Here is the network's analysis and stat projection for Newton now that he's expected to battle Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer for New England's starting quarterback job.

2020 stats: 2,970 passing yards, 17 TD, 10 INT, 358 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD

Newton signed with the Patriots following nine seasons in Carolina. The dual-threat quarterback was playing some of the best ball of his career in 2018, but that campaign was cut short by a late-season shoulder injury and a foot injury derailed his 2019 campaign. Newton attempted only 89 passes and ran the ball five times in two games prior to being shut down for the season. Now that he's 31 years old, it's fair to wonder whether he can still be a factor with his legs and, if not, can he make up for it with his arm? Even missing two games in 2018, Newton finished top five at the position in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns for the eighth consecutive season, so it's very possible he has something left in the tank. He's worth a late-round flier, as he'll be back on the QB1 radar if he beats out Jarrett Stidham.

There are reasons to bet on Newton in 2020 when it comes to fantasy football.

For starters, his ability to score fantasy points with his legs is valuable. He's tallied 500-plus rushing yards in a single season five times in his nine-year career, and he's averaged 6.4 rushing touchdowns per season as well. The Patriots have a very good offensive line, which should be bolstered by the return of starting center David Andrews, who has been cleared to return after missing all of 2019 due to blood clots. New England's offense changed to become a power running team late in the 2018 season and was quite effective -- the Pats won Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots are well-equipped to fit their offense around Newton's mobility

From a passing attack standpoint, the Patriots have a few good wide receivers for Newton to target. Edelman remains one of the best slot receivers in the league and is coming off a fantastic 2019 season during which he hit both the 100-reception and 1,000-yard milestones. Mohamed Sanu, like Edelman, dealt with injury last season and it negatively impacted his on-field performance. He had offseason ankle surgery and should be in better shape by Week 1. Sanu isn't a star player, but when healthy, he's certainly capable of being a reliable target. Second-year wideout N'Keal Harry is another exciting talent in the Patriots offense. Injuries derailed his rookie season, but the Patriots liked his skill set enough to select him in the first round of the 2019 draft.

The pieces are in place for Newton to be a fantasy-relevant player next season if he wins the starting quarterback job in New England. Health is a very important factor in that, obviously, but before 2019 Newton had never missed more than two games in a single season. A motivated Newton, working with a coaching tandem of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, make the 31-year-old quarterback worth taking in your fantasy league's draft.

Why Jason, Devin McCourty decided not to opt out of Patriots' 2020 season

Why Jason, Devin McCourty decided not to opt out of Patriots' 2020 season

The New England Patriots have a league-high eight players opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to concerns about playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pats defense was impacted most with safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Dont'a Hightower deciding the risk of playing this year outweighed the reward. There was some speculation Devin and/or Jason McCourty could follow suit after Devin criticized the NFL for moving up the opt-out deadline, but both are set to play this season.

On Friday, Jason McCourty explained why he and his twin brother never seriously considered opting out.

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“Me and Dev have both spoken a lot about our stance on everything that goes on — I don’t think either one of us ever thought about actually opting out," McCourty said on a video call with reporters. "The opt-out itself just wasn’t worth it. I think for us, the love of the game and the ability to go out there — we didn’t really have a lot of issues that other people have, whether it was newborn kids, whether it was things that put them in high risk or close family members that put them in high risk.

“So for us, it was strictly from a family standpoint, we felt like it was worth it to give it a try and see what we were up against. And being able come into the building, seeing the things that would be done (to protect players), I think we thought it was necessary to go through that process.

"And I think us, like anybody in our society right now, if it was something that was at an extremely high risk to you or your family, of course you wouldn’t continue to do it if you could stop it. But I think for all of us right now playing that are in our building — I can’t speak for everybody, but I think we’re comfortable with the protocols and the measures that have been taken. I think all of us are in this thing together."

While they're a bit shorthanded for 2020, the Patriots defense still is positioned to be one of the best in the NFL. That especially applies to the secondary, where the McCourty twins will aim to help maintain the unit's reputation as one of the best positional groups in the league.

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NFL Rumors: Details of Lamar Miller's Patriots contract revealed

NFL Rumors: Details of Lamar Miller's Patriots contract revealed

The New England Patriots have signed another former Pro Bowler for pennies on the dollar, it appears.

Running back Lamar Miller officially signed a one-year contract with the Patriots in free agency Thursday, and now we know the reported details of that deal, thanks to ESPN's Field Yates.

Miller will make $1.05 million in base salary in 2020 with $200,000 guaranteed. He has an additional $1.5 million in incentives, per Yates, meaning he can earn up to $2.55 million this season. 

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That's a pretty steep discount for the 29-year-old running back, whose four-year, $26 million contract with the Houston Texans (with $14 million guaranteed) expired this spring.

Miller made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and has two 1,000-rushing-yard seasons under his belt but missed the entire 2019 campaign after tearing his ACL in the preseason.

Miller actually has the same base salary as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who took an even bigger pay cut to join New England in free agency. Newton's contract has more incentives, though: The three-time Pro Bowler can earn up to $7.5 million this season.

Starting running back Sony Michel is still recovering from ankle surgery and may not be ready for Week 1, so Miller has the opportunity to revive his career in New England, while the Patriots are hoping to find value in another talented player coming off an injury.