Cam Newton signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Sunday, thus ending a long free-agency saga for the former MVP. But while Newton's place as a starter in the NFL once again seems secured (no offense to Jarrett Stidham), his compensation isn't exactly what you'd expect for a player of Newton's caliber.
According to Adam Schefter, Newton's deal is worth up to $7.5 million. It's incentive-laden, again according to Schefter, so if he has a great season, he'll be the 27th-highest paid QB in the NFL. Meanwhile, Newton's successor in Carolina, Teddy Bridgewater, who is still unproven coming off his knee injury, got a three-year, $63 million contract only a few months ago.
That really didn't sit well with 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.
Of course, Sherman could have been referring to a lot of quarterbacks, not just Bridgewater here. Ryan Tannehill signed a four-year, $118 million deal this offseason. Philip Rivers got $25 million for one year with the Colts. Hell, Marcus Mariota signed for two years and $17.6 million with the Raiders. Hard to justify Newton getting such a small deal considering his pedigree.
Injuries do play a factor here. Newton was limited to two starts last year and battled through an injury-plagued season the year before. He plays a physical style of football and it's impossible to know if he can sustain a high level given the toll his body has paid for the way he plays. Coming off shoulder surgery, will he even be able to finish the 2020 season?
It's a gamble by Newton on himself and it's a gamble by the Patriots on him being their leader for a full season. Sometimes when you gamble, you don't put too many chips in the pot. That seems to be the case here. Sherman has a point given how much teams are paying quarterbacks these days, but he also should accept this was Newton's market and it's on him to prove he was undervalued and get a bigger payday next offseason.