Newton can wear many hats
By Jimmy Golen
The Associated Press
One is a man of a million fedoras. The other is all about the hoodie.
But whether Cam Newton and Bill Belichick can take the New England Patriots back to the Super Bowl is going to be more about football than fashion.
The Patriots have turned to the former Panthers quarterback to replace Tom Brady, who defected to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 19 years, six Super Bowls and three NFL MVP awards.
Newton gets his fresh start in New England after nine seasons in Carolina, where his own MVP-winning career had stalled because of injuries.
Newton, 31, agreed to terms on a deal that will pay him up to $7.5 million this season, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press. He wrote on Instagram, “I’m excited as I don’t know what right now,” ending the post with “LetsGoPats.”
A Heisman Trophy winner who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Newton peaked in 2015, when he was the NFL MVP after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance. If he’s healthy, he gives the Patriots something even Brady didn’t: a mobile QB who challenges defenses to chase him and bring him down.
“When you’re talking about mobile quarterbacks, guys that are tough to handle, tackle, can throw, run, make good decisions — I would put Newton at the top of the list,” Belichick said when the teams met in 2017.
Newton has since had two shoulder operations and one on his foot, and he missed all but two games last season. He has lost his past eight starts.
Brady, who is married to supermodel Giselle Bundchen, did his share of preening, and in his later years his outside interests seemed to intrude on what had previously been a football-first mentality.
The dour Belichick tolerated it as long as they were winning, which they have done more than any coach and quarterback combo in NFL history.
Newton will get the same leeway, starting with training camp when he will have to win the starting job from 2019 fourth-round pick and fellow Auburn product Jarrett Stidham.