Amid what is usually a quiet part of the offseason, the New England Patriots saw two major developments on Sunday night, as the team reportedly signed quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year contract and was also hit with penalties from the NFL stemming from the team's alleged filming of the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline during a game last year.
Cam Newton signs with New England
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, Newton has reportedly signed an incentive-laden deal that could be worth up to $7.5 million.
Newton, 31, is a former NFL MVP who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Carolina Panthers. The three-time Pro Bowler was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 during his MVP season in 2015. Newton is also the NFL's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (58), but he has battled injuries over the past two seasons and last year only played in two games due to a foot injury.
Newton is expected to battle with second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer for the starting job following the departure of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Undrafted rookies J'Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke are also on the roster as well.
Patriots punished for filming Bengals sideline
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, the NFL has completed its investigation into New England's filming of the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline during their Dec. 8 game. The punishment includes the following:
- $1.1 million in club fines.
- Loss of a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
- The Patriots' television production crews will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season.
- Senior club officials will have required training on league operation and game policies.
The league also banned videographer David Mondillo from NFL facilities until further notice. Mondillo had been suspended by the Patriots following the incident and has since reportedly been fired.
When news of the incident first broke back in December, the Patriots admitted that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline. The production crew, which was not part of New England's football operation, had been credentialed to shoot video for the "Do Your Job" web series and the team has maintained that the video was not intended for any other purpose.
The investigation wound up lasting more than six months, and the Patriots reportedly won't contest the penalties.