The New England Patriots surprised some when they agreed to bring Cam Newton back for the 2021 NFL season ahead of free agency.
But one person who wasn't surprised was Albert Breer of The MMQB. And he explained why on a recent episode of NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition.
"I'm not surprised that this happened at all, and I don't think other people in the league are surprised that this happened," Breer said of the Newton re-signing. "What would be surprising is if they didn't bring in some level of competition, whether it's in free agency or through the draft."
That makes sense, especially considering the structure of Newton's deal, which gives him incentives to be paid like a low-level starter but only guarantees him the amount of a backup QB. More than anything else, Breer says, this agreement with Newton is about giving the Patriots options.
As Breer explained, the Patriots don't want to find themselves in the position they did last year, when they had to scramble to find a player that could start over Jarrett Stidham.
"I think the timing of it is, as much as anything else, a guard against what happened last year, where they went through April and May and June and presumed that Jarrett Stidham was going to be their starter," Breer said. "Then they got to July 1st and were like, 'Holy crap, maybe this isn't gonna work' and they felt like they had to go find something. And Cam Newton was what was available at the time."
This offseason, the Patriots will have options to add competition for Newton. The free-agent market isn't exactly flush with starting options as it was last year, but there are still a handful of potential starters and upside-based options available. The draft is said to be strong at the position, too, and five QBs could go in the first round.
And, of course, the trade market is always an option for the Patriots. They have been connected to Jimmy Garoppolo, who was a former second-round pick of the team back in back in 2014, but the San Francisco 49ers don't seem willing to trade him at this point. If the 49ers change their minds, however, the Patriots could be in the mix.
The Newton signing doesn't look like the be-all, end-all for the Patriots at quarterback. We'll soon see if they make another move at the QB position in free agency or if they wait until the 2021 NFL Draft to add some talent at the position.