The Patriots signed Cam Newton on Sunday night, and that’s a huge upgrade over a 42-year-old Tom Brady.
At his advanced age, Tom Brady decided to head to Florida this offseason. Such a choice isn’t a surprise with any of our elders. Yet, Brady’s Buccaneers feature weapons he lacked with the New England Patriots, despite an excellent run game. The Bucs’ core of targets — specifically Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Gronk/OJ Howard/Cameron Brate, just to name a few — are more than what the Patriots could have acquired for TB12 this offseason.
Why is any of this important in examining the Patriots’ decision to sign Newton? Well, it’s precisely why Bill Belichick is a genius for pulling off such a move. At his best, Newton is used to doing more with less. Look no further than his prime with Carolina.
Cam Newton is a great fit for the Patriots, more so than Tom Brady would’ve been next season.
Newton barely played last season thanks to shoulder and foot injuries, but in 2018 was still a capable NFL starter and then some, delivering 24 touchdowns through the air and another four on the ground. Ron Rivera and Co. essentially ran Newton into the ground from 2015 (Newton’s MVP season) to 2018, something Josh McDaniels will know better than to replicate.
At Newton’s best, he was in an offense that featured DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and even gelled with a rookie Christian McCaffrey. In New England, he’ll have Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris at his disposal. With big-bodied targets such as N’Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu on the outside, paired with Julian Edelman in the slot, he can beat opposing teams through the air as well. Such options will mirror the days of Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess and a veteran Steve Smith in the slot from various seasons in Carolina.
Newton’s used to playing with teams built to New England’s current strengths, while Brady cannot muster the mobility and arm strength at his age to work with this crop. That’s not necessarily an insult to him, just a credit to Father Time.