NFL teams recently showed once again recently that they often don’t tend to get the quarterback position.
When Cam Newton hit the market, the Browns were the only team to even show an interest until the Patriots scooped him up for a bargain basement price of $500,000 guaranteed on a minimum base salary of just over $1 million that maxes out at $7.5 million if he hits all the incentives.
It was described as a gamble for the Patriots but there is no gamble. If he doesn’t beat out Jarrett Stidham for the starting job, they can cut him and he will only cost a half million, which is rookie salary money.
They spent the offseason acting as if they were committed to Stidham but that may have been a smokescreen.
So now that the Patriots have Newton, what were the rest of the teams thinking?
Granted, he could be a gamble. He is coming off a Lisfranc injury, which is devastating for a running quarterback, and he couldn’t work out for teams because of the league shutdown. And his shoulder problems are troubling.
And he wanted a place where he could start. He didn’t want to take a backup job the way Jameis Winston did for $1.1 million in New Orleans, where he could replace Drew Brees next year. Winston lost bargaining power because he was an interception machine last year even though he led the league in passing yardage and is the first quarterback to do that and not to start the following year.
Newton’s problem was that he was hurt the last two years. If he’s healthy, the Patriots will be a contender again despite Brady’s departure.
And look at what some of the teams that passed on Newton did.
Chicago traded for Nick Foles and guaranteed him $21 million over three years. Newton would have wanted more from the Bears than he got from the Patriots but he isn’t any more risky than Foles, who had a broken clavicle last year and nobody knows how he will recover from that.
Or look at the Los Angeles Chargers. They drafted Justin Herbert as their quarterback of the future. But will he be ready this year without an offseason? Tyrod Taylor is their alternative. Would Newton have been a better choice for a year?
The Jaguars are betting on Gardner Minshew and ignored Newton. This is a team that bypassed Patrick Mahones, Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson in two consecuctive drafts because they believed in Blake Bortles. That was a great example of a team that doesn’t get it.
So when Newton didn’t get any better offers, Newton took the Patriots’ offer that Richard Sherman called “disgusting” and “ridiculous.”
Newton brushed off the talk about his low salary by saying on Instagram that it’s not about the money. It is about the respect. And Newton has already made $100 million in his career, so signing with the Patriots may have been the best option for him.
Now we find out if Newton is healthy and how good he is coming off his injuries.
If he can still be a top quarterback, he will make big money next year from the Patriots, who can franchise him, or from another team.
But if he is a good quarterback, some of the teams that weren’t willing to take a chance on him will look foolish.
He will become another example of how NFL teams often don’t get it when it comes to signing quarterbacks.