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Aug 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is forced out of the pocket by New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Now, finally, we can all agree: Jarrett Stidham isn’t quite ready and the Patriots had no real plan following the departure of Tom Brady. But, as usual, Bill Belichick stuck the landing.

Cam Newton is your new quarterback, New England.

And one way or another, this is going to be entertaining.

A few quick thoughts on the arrival of Newton – which conveniently overshadowed the latest disciplinary action by the NFL against the Patriots, who were fined $1.1 million and docked a third-round pick after one of the employees from Kraft Productions illegally taped the Cincinnati Bengals sideline during last season:

  • The union of Belichick and Newton may be one of the most fascinating marriages ever in Boston. Think about it. Brady was a sixth-round selection, No. 199 overall, and one of the most unimpressive athletes ever to come out of the NFL draft. Newton was No. 1 overall, is an athletic freak, and possesses one of the biggest personalities in sports. The story with Newton off the field could be as compelling as the story on it.
  • If you’re keeping score, as the result of disciplinary action by the league for Spygate, Deflategate and the Bengals taping incident, the Pats have now lost: two first-round picks, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick. That is a ton of draft collateral, especially for a team that has not drafted well in recent years.
  • On the field, will the Patriots ask Newton to work far more from the pocket? Newton has taken a ton of hits and suffered numerous injuries in recent years, so one must wonder whether he’d like to change some things, too. At the same time, Josh McDaniels always has seemed intrigued by the idea of a mobile, more athletic quarterback – and Newton is the prototype. One has to believe that McDaniels loves this.
  • The hype train carrying Jarrett Stidham has obviously come to a screeching halt. The guess here is that the Patriots like Stidham and believe in him – but that he’s not quite ready. (Those were the reports at season’s end, remember.) As for Brian Hoyer, is it possible the Pats would keep three quarterbacks? Given Newton’s injury history, it might not be a bad play.
  • Just curious, but does this mean anything for Joe Thuney? The Patriots have to clear some money to sign Newton and the easiest way to do so is to trade Thuney, whom they have franchised. Of course, the Pats could also do some creative accounting and keep Thuney, too. But it’s worth watching.

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.

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