By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
If the oddsmakers and sportsbooks have their say, the 2020 NFL season has a legitimate chance of starting with veteran quarterback Cam Newton under center as Tom Brady’s replacement for the New England Patriots.
Following Brady’s departure from the Patriots (as well as the Teddy Bridgewater signing in Carolina), SportsLine has currently pegged the Patriots as their No. 1 favorite for Newton, at +300. SportsLine has the Redskins, Dolphins, Chargers, Jaguars, and Broncos directly behind the Patriots here, with Washington’s +500 standing as the second-best odds. FanDuel, meanwhile, currently has the Patriots at No. 2 on their Newton odds, at +170. Their sportsbook seems to give the Redskins the edge over New England, as they have a Newton-Ron Rivera reunion in D.C. at +125 entering the weekend.
So, how plausible is the idea of Newton starting anew under Bill Belichick?
With some serious and furious quarterback shuffling around the league since the start of the league’s legal tampering period, Newton is among those currently without a home. Newton is still a member of the Carolina Panthers, sure, but the Panthers signed Bridgewater to that three-year, $63 million contract and have since given Newton permission to seek a trade. The trade process as a whole (who requested what and all that) was something that Newton seemed to protest, and with a trade failing to present itself to the 30-year-old Newton, his outright release from the Panthers seems like an inevitability.
But does it come the fast track to Foxborough that Vegas seems to think is there?
After appearing in just two games (both losses) in 2019, and with losses in eight straight starts (eight straight!) dating back to the 2018 season actually, Newton’s stock as a franchise quarterback has probably never been lower. His NFL MVP award and Super Bowl appearance with the Panthers honestly feels like it was 10 years ago, not five. Still, Newton isn’t that far from removed from respectable numbers, as his 14-start 2018 season featured 24 touchdowns, a career-best 67.9 completion percentage, the second-best quarterback rating (94.2), and third-most passing yards per game (242.5).
That certainly benefits a team like the Patriots, and a low-risk, high-reward agreement of sorts could present a mutually beneficial opportunity for both Newton and the Patriots and help put Newton back on the map and bridge the gap between Brady and Jarrett Stidham if Stidham is indeed the “next guy” for Bill Belichick but isn’t ready for primetime in 2020.