Cam Newton did his contractually obligated weekly appearance on WEEI today and was, as you'd logically assume, was asked about his contract.
“[M]oney at this particular point in my career is not important, right? Let’s be honest, I’ve made money. But for everything I play this game for, I haven’t received yet. And that’s why I’m playing. It’s not about money, it’s about respect.
“And especially going back to the negotiating table when this opportunity presented itself, I didn’t want to keep going back-and-forth, this and that. I said, ‘Listen, let’s get the deal done. Let’s do it.’ For all that it’s worth, it’s going to play dividends moving forward. I do believe this: a wise man once said, and that wise man is my father, ‘All blessings do not come in financial means.’ Just because you have money and do that, blessings come in many different forms than that. For me, if I do what I am supposed to do, everything else will take care of itself.” ...
“You must understand, that is literally the last of my worries and if we had to put an analogy in it, that is under so much work at my desk that I am not really too much focused on it,” Newton said. “I do admire and love the culture of the Patriots. It’s been a place for me that has been therapeutic. This is a place that has been rather challenging for my growth and is making me better. And also, it has been a place that has given me everything for my needs at this particular time in my life.
And while it's natural and perfectly logical to be skeptical any time someone says they're not concerned with money, everything Newton has done appears to back up his claim he's focused strictly on the job. His workouts on the West Coast. The fact that all his teammates said you couldn't get to practices earlier or stay later that he did. Matthew Slater said Newton spent the entire six hour flight to Seattle with his nose buried in his playbook. I have no doubt he'd like to do the same amount of work for way more money just like every adult. But all his actions point to a guy who had his career taken away, is happy just to be working again - for a company that appreciates him - and the pay grade will work itself out sooner or later as he keeps earning and burning.
Which leads me to a point I'd hoped to get to at some point in the season. And there's no time like the present to ask the question.
How in holy hell could 31 other general managers not offer this guy a contract?
As I started to say this, I'd considered giving an out to the GMs of teams who are all set at quarterback, but I won't. Because who is ever totally all set at quarterback? Patrick Mahomes has missed time in his career. So has Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo. Even if you've got Russell Wilson, who hasn't, he's not indestructible. Newton is making a base salary of $650,000 with incentives and wanted to sign without negotiating just to get his career back. He no doubt would've rather been a backup than unemployed. Hell, Jameis Winston got picked up after a 30 interception season while Newton was sitting home without his phone buzzing.
And this is what he's done through two games:
According to PFF (paywall), here's where he ranks in various metrics:
- Overall QB grade: 5th (behind Rodgers, Wilson, Tom Brady and Jared Goff)
- QB passing grade: 5th (behind Brady and just ahead of MVP Lamar Jackson)
- Completion %: 7th
- Adjusted completion %: 4th
- Adjusted completion % under pressure: 3rd
- Passing yards: 8th
- Passing yards per attempt: 6th
- Passer rating: 14th (just behind Mahomes and Dak Prescott and ahead of Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson and his replacement in Carolina Teddy Bridgewater)
- Passer rating under pressure: 10th (Brady is 31st)
- Passer rating with 2.5+ seconds to throw: 6th (Brady is 7th)
And this while quarterbacking a team that supposedly has no talent at wide receiver and with Ryan Izzo, with Devin Asiasi (20 snaps total, zero targets) as the only pure tight ends dressing so far and their 3rd down receiving running back missing the last game.
This is the guy no one could use. Not as a starter. Not as a backup. Not for a minimum wage, incentive laden deal. Not for anything. And while it's still early yet, it's only a matter of time before we start seeing starters go out due to injury and ineffectiveness. And as that begins to happen, never forget that there was one guy that 31 GMs didn't want. He just had his best passing game since 2011. And he's making a fraction of what Nick Foles is making to sit behind Mitchell Trubisky.
Remind me again how GM Bill doesn't give Coach Bill any help again?
P.S. I'm really disappointed this original Tweet was taken down. Because it said the Pats don't deserve credit for signing Cam Newton because if they really wanted him, they wouldn't have waited so long. People are stupid.