The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, as first reported by ESPN. The one-year deal is worth up to $7.5 million with incentives as the Patriots add 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady.
— NFL (@NFL) June 29, 2020
Newton had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff before the 2019 season. But he injured his foot in a brief appearance in the third preseason game against New England and played only two games last season before being placed on injured reserve with a Lis Franc fracture. He has been rehabbing ever since, posting several workout videos on Instagram. But because of the coronavirus, he hasn’t had a chance to meet with other teams to show that he is healthy.
The Patriots were heading to training camp with 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham as the leading candidate to replace Brady, who led the team to six Super Bowl championships since 2001 but signed with Tampa Bay this off-season. Stidham appeared in three games last season, completing two passes for 14 yards with one interception.
The only other experienced quarterback on their roster was 34-year-old Brian Hoyer, who has started 38 games in an 11-year career with seven NFL teams, including the Patriots twice.
Signing Newton gives the Patriots options, as a healthy Newton comes to them with a strong resume. The 31-year-old was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft after leading Auburn to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy. He helped the Panthers reach the playoffs four times, including the Super Bowl in 2015. In nine seasons, Newton has completed 2,371 passes for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns with 108 interceptions. He has also run for 4,806 yards and 58 touchdowns.
NFL hands down penalties for video infractions
In a subplot to Sunday’s Patriot related news, ESPN has reported that the NFL has handed down punishment for inappropriate video filming. As part of the punishment, the Patriots have been fined $1.1 million by the NFL for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during a game last season. The league also took away a third-round pick in the 2021 draft and the Patriots’ production crew will not be allowed to shoot any games in 2020.
After ESPN first reported the penalties, NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the discipline.
The filming occurred at the Bengals game at Cleveland on Dec. 8 of last season. The Bengals hosted the Patriots the following week and lost 34-13. When the taping became known, the Patriots said at the time a three-person crew producing a web series titled “Do Your Job” “inappropriately filmed the field from the press box” as part of a feature on the scouting department.
The NFL will reportedly fine the Patriots $1.1 million and dock a 2021 third-round pick as a result of New England's illegal videotaping of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019: https://t.co/iZv08GJTiH
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 29, 2020
The Patriots statement claimed that the filming took place “without specific knowledge of league rules,” and that while they were granted credentials for the crew from the Browns, “our failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight.” When confronted, the Patriots said the crew “immediately turned over all footage to the league and co-operated fully.” They also stated that the production crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, is not part of their football operations.
This is not the first time they have been disciplined for improper videoing, as New England was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick in 2007 for violating NFL rules against using video to steal signals in a scandal dubbed “Spygate.” Head Coach Bill Belichick was also fined $500,000 in that incident.
A Patriots spokesperson confirmed the team won’t contest the penalties.
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