Both Cam Newton and the New England Patriots did their studying before agreeing to terms on the final Sunday night of June.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained Friday during his initial video conference of training camp.
“Things worked out,” Belichick said of the 31-year-old quarterback. “We spent quite a bit of time with Cam, and he spent quite a bit of time with us. I think it was a mutual interest. We spent quite a bit of – a number of different people and a number of different conversations, just trying to see how the fit would be. It was very positive on our end. I’m glad it worked out.”
Newton’s one-year contract with the Patriots includes a base salary of $1.05 million and $550,000 guaranteed. An additional $700,000 is available in the form of per-game roster bonuses for the former No. 1 overall pick and NFL MVP. As is up to $5.75 million in incentives after a season in which Newton started two games before a Lisfranc fracture sent him to injured reserve.
The Carolina Panthers released Newton in March. A wait in free agency followed. A wait to evaluate did, as well, with the coronavirus pandemic curtailing organized team activities and minicamps.
“I mean, I don’t know. It wasn’t that way,” Belichick said of how those circumstances meshed. “I don’t know if it’d been different if it would have happened differently. I don’t know. I don’t see why it would have, but I’m not sure.”
Newton will now contend for the starting spot in New England on a depth chart that stands at four after the re-signing of undrafted rookie Brian Lewerke on Thursday. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are in his company as players begin to report to Gillette Stadium. With Covid-19 testing and virtual meetings soon ramping up to strength and conditioning, the first practice of camp is set for Aug. 12.
But the homework is ongoing.
“I think that’s about the same as all the other spots on the team,” Belichick said of the Patriots’ QB room. “We got a long way to go and we’ll see how things turn out. I can’t control how players perform – that’s up to them. We’ll give everybody an opportunity and see what happens. So, I don’t know.”