It's easy to see why the New England Patriots would be wary of signing Cam Newton.
He turns 31 in May. He played in just two games for the Carolina Panthers in 2019 due to a season-ending foot injury. He likely won't make the $19.1 million the Panthers were set to pay him in 2020 but still won't come cheap.
So, why would the Patriots pay exponentially more for Newton to replace Tom Brady than, say, second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who's currently in line to succeed Brady?
Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf) did some digging over in The Stats Corner and pulled some numbers that may make you think twice before writing off the 2015 NFL MVP.
Here's how Brady and Newton stack up over their 16 most recent regular-season games:
Those stats don't paint the full picture, obviously. Brady took fewer sacks (27 to Newton's 35) in that span and went 12-4 in those 16 games, while Newton's Panthers went 6-10. The two quarterbacks also operated in very different offenses with varying degrees of talent around them.
But in virtually every major passing category, Brady and Newton have been nearly identical over their last 16 regular season games: Brady has 373 completions to Newton's 370 and just 90 more passing yards, while Newton actually boasts a better passer rating.
The bottom line? Newton still is a talented NFL quarterback when healthy, while Brady hasn't exactly been head and shoulders above his competition since turning 42 last August.
Our Tom E. Curran reports that Stidham is the Patriots' guy at the moment. But if days go by without another team signing Newton, it's worth wondering what Bill Belichick could do with the athletic QB in his offense.