Patriots

Let's hold off on overreactions after Patriots' signing of Cam Newton

Let's hold off on overreactions after Patriots' signing of Cam Newton

Well, we should have seen this coming.

Within the first 48 hours of the Patriots buying a scratch ticket to boost an uncertain group at quarterback, we're hearing and seeing things like this:

- Super Bowl back on!

- Well, looks like they didn't have any faith in Stidham!

- Boy, the rest of the NFL is stupid for not signing this guy!

I like the Cam Newton signing a lot, but we're breezing past, ya know, the facts of the situation here.

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It's hard to separate the name from the reality. Newton was a great quarterback the last time he was healthy, so the idea of the Patriots losing one star (Tom Brady) and replacing him with another (Newton) and keeping the train rolling is easier to digest than what actually happened.

And the idea that it means they don't like Stidham? Stop it.

Newton, if you believe the reporting, went the entire offseason without any offers. Why? Because right now he's an uncertainty as he comes off multiple injuries.

And uncertainty is what the Patriots had. They had a second-year quarterback in Stidham who had yet to start an NFL game and a low-ceiling backup in Brian Hoyer. In the most important season ever for quarterback depth (because of COVID), the Patriots were playing with fire.

Signing Newton adds another uncertainty, but increases the odds of having stability at the position. "One of Newton and Stidham will work out" makes more sense than saying "Stidham will just have to work out," right? It's another dart to throw.

The rush to declare this means they don't like Stidham is shortsighted. They went the entire spring (free agency and the draft) without adding competition for Stidham. All this time, they've been leaving Newton free to sign with any other team.

And when they signed Newton, they gave him... the league minimum. So ask yourself this: Does that really sound like they think Newton is a savior at the position? Or is he cheap insurance that, if he goes off, could be an All-Pro making just $7.5 million thanks to incentives?

If Newton wins the job, which he should if he's healthy, that still doesn't mean they don't like Stidham. It means they weren't married to Stidham, but we already knew that. They weren't married to Tom Freaking Brady.

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We in New England apparently have some trouble with understanding a quarterback's value. We went from "wait until you see the line of teams willing to kick their quarterback to the curb for Brady!" (nope, he only got two offers) to "Cam Newton to the rescue!" (he was basically free).

I'm not saying Newton won't work. Hopefully he does. I'm saying this is a scratch ticket, which the Patriots obviously feel is the case. Otherwise, they'd have signed him earlier. Newton is a perfect fit for what the Patriots need, which is a cheap player with high upside who can join a quarterback room lacking competition.

So if you feel like it, go ahead and celebrate the signing as though it's the Pedro trade, which brought a 26 year-old Cy Young winner to Boston to save the franchise. But the logistics of it are more like the Red Sox signing John Smoltz and Mark Prior, guys trying to resurrect their careers, to one-year deals for low money.

Big names are enticing and Newton can be a star, but a fixer-upper on a minimum deal is some rocky foundation on which to build declarations about the Patriots' future.

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.