The New England Patriots are re-signing QB Cam Newton to a one-year, $14 million contract, according to ESPN insider, Adam Schefter.
Comp update: Patriots are finalizing a 1-year deal worth close to $14 million for Cam Newton to return to New England, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2021
Newton’s new deal marks a significant raise from his 2020 salary of $1.75 million but also makes it clear the Patriots are in the quarterback market in the 2021 NFL draft. While it’s possible Newton earns a more lucrative multi-year extension if he performs at a high level in 2021, it’s more likely New England will target his replacement in the early rounds of the draft, potentially even with their first-round pick, No. 15 overall.
The most likely quarterback prospect to be on the board when the Patriots pick is Alabama’s Mac Jones, who many have connected to New England because of Jones’ Tom Brady-like stature. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has been one of the more vocal members of the draft industry to connect those dots.
Newton had the worst statistical year of his career in 2020, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering the supporting cast he was playing with on offense. The Patriots had one of the least exciting groups of pass-catchers in the NFL and it resulted in just 2,657 passing yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions for Newton. Where Newton thrived in 2020 was as a runner, scoring 12 touchdowns and gaining nearly 600 yards rushing.
The Patriots should be players in the free-agent wide receiver market, especially if they intend on using their first-round pick on a quarterback. If none of the top quarterback prospects are on the board when they’re on the clock, expect New England to target an offensive weapon (regardless of position) as a fallback option.