Cam Newton to the New England Patriots makes sense.

A lot of sense.

Bill Belichick, of course, threw a knuckleball at the pro football world during the coronavirus by signing the former MVP quarterback to a one-year deal on Sunday, and while doing so fills a need:

Competition for Jarrett Stidham.

Belichick has made summer “name” moves like this before, mostly at wide receiver, be it Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, Reggie Wayne or Antonio Brown. Most of them have not worked out.

Signing Newton could be one of those reaches. But this is a good one.

One head-scratcher this offseason has been Belichick’s handing the starting quarterback position to Stidham.

It didn’t make sense that Belichick would hand the keys to an unproven, second-year guy, despite his mental toughness, guile and other important starting quarterback qualities.

Stidham might be very good. He showed some promise last summer. But then again, it was the summer. After that he did absolutely nothing worthy of being handed the keys as a franchise quarterback.

Unless, of course, his practice tape was through the roof.

We all know that Brian Hoyer is a backup. Maybe even a backup to the backup. Heck, Stidham beat him out last summer and he was released, later picked up by the Colts.

Newton is interesting. He seems to be an anti-Belichick QB, which means he is sloppy with the football and makes too many bad decisions.

His accuracy (59.6 percent) and TD-to-interception rate (182 to 108) isn’t quite 2-to-1, which is average these days.

But Newton’s arm, size (6-foot-5, 250 pounds), MVP trophy (2015) and experience (nine seasons) are more than worth the gamble.

Newton is only 31, which is considered the “prime” for most quarterbacks not named Tom Brady.

Newton could re-energize his career here under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels if he puts in the time and does his homework every night.

The “new” Patriots, under Belichick, will not live and die with the quarterback position anymore. Defense, special teams, and ball-control will supersede QB play over a 16-game season.

Newton has proven he can play well. He just hasn’t proven it lately. He played in just two games last season due to injury. But he started at least 14 games in each of his first eight seasons, throwing for 29,041 yards and 182 TDs in 125 career games.

The Carolina Panthers, though, didn’t play football with the discipline demanded on Route 1 in Foxborough.

This is a great move by the Patriots and Belichick.

Stidham will have to play pretty well to win the job. And if he doesn’t play well enough, maybe that means the Patriots found a quarterback with some tread left on his tires.

Newton doesn’t have to be Superman anymore. That guy is on the sidelines.

He just has to make a few plays. On some weeks make a lot of plays.

I like the move. I like it a lot.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@gloucestertimes.com.

 

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