Patriots

Would Patriots be good fit for Cam Newton? Rodney Harrison gives interesting take

Would Patriots be good fit for Cam Newton? Rodney Harrison gives interesting take

May is almost over and Cam Newton remains an NFL free agent.

It's really hard to believe given how great of a career Newton has had over the last nine years. We're talking about the 2015 NFL MVP and a quarterback who's led his team to a Super Bowl.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Of course, Newton's health likely is a concern for teams still in need of a quarterback, and given the social distancing guidelines involved with the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not easy to evaluate a player and put him through a workout.

Newton missed the last 14 games of the 2019 season due to injury, and he's taken a lot of hits in the open field for a 31-year-old quarterback.

Why hasn't Newton signed yet? Former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison joined the "Rich Eisen Show" earlier this week and gave his take on the situation.

"Because nobody knows, Rich, nobody knows what's going on with Cam as far as, can you depend on him with his health ... and at this point in time you can't invest a lot of money because he's been so beat up," Harrison said. "I think the best thing for him to do is go into a situation, maybe go become a backup quarterback, learn, get healthy, and then if he gets his opportunity, go out there and shine. But I don't think he's going to be a starting quarterback this year in the National Football League."

One potential fit for Newton that experts and fans have debated quite a bit since the veteran quarterback's release from the Panthers in March is the Patriots. Believe it or not, the Patriots remain the betting favorites to land Newton.

The Pats are entering a transition year at quarterback following Tom Brady's departure in free agency. New England's likely starter is 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham, and while he showed plenty of promise in preseason games, training camp and various practices as a rookie, you could definitely argue Newton would give the Patriots a better chance of winning in 2020.

What does Harrison think about the Patriots as a potential spot for Newton?

"I know a lot of people out there are saying the Patriots, but I thought it would be a great situation where he could have came in at a reduced salary,” Harrison said. “He could have came in and really learned a lot about just technique and just the intricacies of just being on a really great football team with great guidance as far as the head coach and offensive coordinator.

"I thought that would have been a really, really ideal situation for him. He could have came in, competed. Could have helped the young guy, the young guy could have helped to push him. I thought it would have been a perfect situation. I’m just a little disappointed that the Patriots weren’t a little bit more aggressive, you know, just recruiting Cam."

The Patriots have limited salary cap space -- only about $1.3 million, as of this writing, per OverTheCap -- so signing Newton is tough for them right now purely from a financial perspective.

It's also possible the Patriots just aren't interested in Newton. If the Patriots want to learn what kind of player Stidham can become, he needs to get a lot more reps in 2020 than he did last season.

This list of QBs with more guaranteed money than Cam Newton in 2020 is crazy

This list of QBs with more guaranteed money than Cam Newton in 2020 is crazy

The New England Patriots didn't have to make a huge financial commitment to add Cam Newton to their roster for the 2020 NFL season.

Newton and the Patriots reportedly have agreed to a one-year contract that could be worth up to $7.5 million. The veteran quarterback's contract has a $1.05 million base salary and up to $6.45 million in incentives, per reports. 

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

One of the most interesting parts of Newton's contract is his $550,000 in guaranteed money, which isn't a lot, to say the least. In fact, the list of quarterbacks with more guaranteed money in their contract for next season is pretty crazy.

Bleacher Report tweeted the following list Thursday:

There's a good chance none of the quarterbacks listed above will be their team's starter in Week 1. Almost all of them will be backups throughout 2020.

Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list is Jarrett Stidham, who was the favorite to replace Tom Brady as the Patriots' starting quarterback before Newton's arrival. Stidham still has a chance to win the starter job, but if Newton is healthy, it's hard to imagine the 31-year-old veteran losing that competition. 

Either way, the Patriots have not taken much of a risk by acquiring Newton. If he's healthy and plays well, his contract will be among the best values in the league. If it doesn't work out, the Patriots didn't sacrifice a lot of salary cap space to take the chance. It's the classic low-risk, high-reward scenario.

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast:

One of Cam Newton's ex-Panthers teammates says Patriots QB 'still has it'

One of Cam Newton's ex-Panthers teammates says Patriots QB 'still has it'

One of Cam Newton's former teammates on the Carolina Panthers thinks the veteran quarterback is still capable of great things as he enters a new chapter of his career with the New England Patriots.

Newton reportedly has agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Patriots worth up to $7.5 million. He was released by the Panthers in March after spending the first nine seasons of his career in Carolina.

"Man, I was happy for Cam," Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson recently told NFL Network's Colleen Wolfe. "I hated that it took so long for him to get signed. He's an MVP quarterback. Cam still has it. I'm happy for him. I'm glad the Patriots invested in him, and I can't wait to see Cam Newton come out there and play."

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Thompson and Newton were teammates for five seasons, including Thompson's rookie campaign in 2015 when Newton won league MVP and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50.

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast:

Thompson is not the only former or current player predicting success for Newton in New England. Ex-Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch thinks Newton will "erupt" and have a "crazy season" as a player motivated to prove his doubters wrong. Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss said the Patriots offense will be a lot of fun to watch with Newton at the helm.

There are reasons to believe Newton will thrive with the Patriots. Just two years ago he completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns. He played at an MVP level for the first eight games of 2018 before a shoulder injury derailed his season.

Health is always going to be the main concern with Newton, especially after he missed 14 games in 2019 due to injuries. But if healthy, the Patriots should be getting a top 12 quarterback who gives the offense a dual-threat skill set we have rarely seen in New England.