Newton languished through free agency without getting any real offers after being released by the Carolina Panthers. All the while, the Patriots opted not to jump on finding a veteran or draft a replacement for Tom Brady. It seemed odd that Bill Belichick & Co. would enter the 2020 season with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as their only options under center, but now it makes sense. The Patriots don't have a ton of cap space, so they waited out the market and landed a former MVP on the cheap.
For Newton, the opportunity to learn from Belichick and work under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could be the perfect recipe for rehabilitating his career. The 31-year-old three-time Pro Bowler has battled injuries for the last few seasons and has seen his performance bottom out as a result. Save for a slight bounce-back in 2018, Newton hasn't been the same since his MVP season in 2015.
As for Belichick, at this point in his career it would have been shocking had he put all his chips on the unproven Stidham to win games. Let's face it, he also isn't the kind of coach who would accept tanking. He wants to win. If healthy, Newton could give the Patriots the ability to do that.
Newton will be the odds-on favorite to start in New England. It may take him time to get up to speed but his upside is so far beyond that of the other options. There is no way the Patriots are signing Newton to keep him on the bench they want him to go out and win games.
If he helps New England smoothly transition away from the Brady era, Newton will reestablish himself as a legit franchise quarterback in the NFL. He'll be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season and should have offers if he proves himself under Belichick. If not, he'll be right back where he was before signing. And if Newton tanks the Patriots will be no worse off than they are now without a true successor to Brady.
This was an easy move to make for both sides.