Cam Newton's one-year deal with the New England Patriots has worked out swell for both sides so far. We are only three weeks into the season, yes, but Newton looks better than he has in several years and the Patriots are 2-1. Bill Belichick also isn't having meltdowns in the locker room after Newton dances his way across the field. Newton is still dressing like a man who doesn't care who's watching. Everything is well in Patriot Land.
It's going well enough early on that it wouldn't be absurd to think about Newton sticking around for the long haul. He's only 31-years-old, the Patriots would have enough money to give him a market-value deal in free agency next offseason, and he does appear to enjoy the winning component of playing for Belichick. However, appearing on The Greg Hill Show today, Newton channeled his inner Jimmy Butler in a way that might make us want to pump the breaks on any talk of Newton as New England's future quarterback.
It is important to note Newton acknowledged that the current pandemic played a role in his decision to not bring his family to Boston. When asked about the implications of a long-term agreement in light of those comments, insisted he's keeping the blinders on and only cares about the immediate future. Him viewing this as a business trip lines up with everything else Newton has said to media since he showed up in Foxborough -- nothing matters except the next game and proving to himself that he can still play at a high level in the NFL.
Nonetheless, it wouldn't be a surprise if this business trip resulted in Newton signing a fat contract elsewhere come 2021 free agency. He's a great player if he's healthy, but that's a big if, and Belichick is, if anything, risk-averse when it comes to handing out big money to guys with injury histories. Rob Gronkowski's contracts were heavily loaded with playing time incentives, and Newton might not agree to those terms if he puts together an elite year. He has said multiple times this season that this year is about respect more than money because he's earned plenty of the latter and currently feels the former is lacking. That might not be the case after he recoups some respect and wants to cash in.
Either way, it's been a successful business trip thus far, even if it's far from over.