"This was one of those nights where you stop everything you're doing... to do a video. About Cam Newton."
Like many football fans, NBC Sports' Mike Florio was enjoying a relaxing summer weekend when news broke about one of the biggest bombshells of the 2020 offseason: The Patriots had signed Cam Newton.
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So why would New England take a chance on the former MVP, who's just a .500 QB over the last four seasons?
"The Patriots took a leap of faith in reliance upon representations from Cam Newton's agents that he's healthy, because they understand how determined he is to prove himself," Florio said Sunday night.
Florio also called a healthy Newton "one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL," but that's the ultimate question: Is he healthy? The 31-year-old's reported incentive-laden, one-year contract is a chance for him to reclaim his MVP form from 2015, especially after a Lisfranc injury limited Newton to just two starts over the last 18 months.
For Florio, one factor that could have played into the Newton-Patriots marriage is the longtime Panthers QB's track record in games against Bill Belichick's crew over the years. In two meetings, Newton racked up seven touchdowns (six passing, one rushing) and one interception along with a QB rating of 128.2 (his best vs. any NFL opponent) and a perfect 2-0 record.
And now that Newton is a Patriot, he'll enter a quarterback room that includes Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Brian Lewerke, and J'Mar Smith. Only two of those quarterbacks were drafted — and only one was drafted No. 1 overall.
"With the deal being done more than a month before camp opens, he'll have ample opportunity to learn the offense, get ready to go, and prove that he's a better option for Bill Belichick, post-Tom Brady, than Jarrett Stidham would be. It will make a 2020 season even more intriguing. Hopefully we will have one."
Whether or not Newton wins the starting job, it adds a fascinating storyline to monitor as we count down to the 2020 season.