Cam Newton has already earned a host of accolades over his football career.
The Heisman Trophy in 2010. The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2011. The NFL MVP award in 2015.
And now he might need to make room for another prize in his trophy case: the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
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After the Patriots reportedly added the three-time Pro Bowler on a one-year, incentive-laden contract Sunday, Newton shot towards the top of the favorites to win Comeback Player honors in 2020, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger: +300
- Patriots QB Cam Newton: +400
- Texans DE J.J. Watt: +700
- Lions QB Matthew Stafford: +800
- Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski: +800
- WR Antonio Brown: +1000
Listed at +1400 before signing with New England, Newton is now listed at +400, passing players like Rob Gronkowski, J.J. Watt, and Matthew Stafford. Newton has the second-best odds overall, trailing only Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (+300).
For Newton, the key is health. As Phil Perry outlined here, Newton was among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks before a shoulder injury in 2018 and a Lisfranc injury in 2019. The drop-off over his last five games has been severe, and it's been a huge factor in a personal eight-game losing streak since early November of the 2018 season.
Though not listed in the chart above, last season's foot injury last season severely hampered Newton's mobility, as he only rushed five times for -2 yards in two games before being shut down. Hopefully for the Patriots, months of rehab and recovery will get Newton back to his early 2018 form.
Three Patriots have won the AP Comeback Player of the Year award in the past: Tedy Bruschi in 2005, Tom Brady in 2009, and Rob Gronkowski in 2014. Should Newton become the fourth, the Patriots will have found a way to withstand Tom Brady's departure without a huge drop-off in quarterback play.