As you’ve no doubt heard, former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has signed a one year deal with the New England Patriots. Fans of fantasy football have been waiting for Newton to sign somewhere ever since Panthers head coach Matt Rhule released him in April. Pro Football Network’s own Crissy Froyd speculated a few weeks ago that the Patriots could sign him even though their cap space could present an issue, and they appear to have found a way around that issue. Now that he’s got a team, let’s examine what that means for Cam Newton’s dynasty value heading into the 2020 season.
Cam Newton’s Dynasty Value After Signing with Patriots
The contract itself and the Patriots lack of cap space
The Patriots have less than $1 million in cap space but Newton’s contract is reportedly worth up to $7.5 million for a one-year deal. How is that possible? Simply put, this contract has a very low base salary and is heavily tilted toward incentives. This means that the Patriots aren’t risking much with the deal and if Newton doesn’t play much the Patriots won’t have to pay him much.
To me, this seems like a low risk, high reward type of move for the Patriots. They already have Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer in their QB room, but adding a player like Newton definitely doesn’t hurt. Newton is a far cry from the MVP version of himself after suffering multiple injuries in the last few seasons but he’s still a valuable asset in the locker room and can definitely help a team as a bench player as the season wears along.
Cam’s various injuries and playing style
Newton isn’t the speedster he used to be. His injuries have definitely slowed him down as he’s gotten older. Newton suffered a foot injury in the offseason that eventually sabotaged his 2019 season where he only played in two games before being benched due to the injury. Newton also has a history of knee and shoulder injuries sustained while playing football and a back injury from a car accident in 2014. He’s not exactly a spring chicken either, having turned 31 in May of 2020.
While it’s true that quarterbacks can play well into their 30s and beyond, such as former Patriots QB Tom Brady, father time is always chasing us. Add in all of his injury risk and it wasn’t surprising that it took so long for a team to sign him. He might be healthy now, sure, but how long can that really last? His past makes me nervous.
In his free-agent QB piece, Oliver Hodgkinson noticed some stats about Newton that also make me worried about his potential this season, stating “Newton, in 2017 and 2018, was making plays behind the sticks, relying on the players around him to keep the offense moving.” The Patriots don’t have the same weapons that the Panthers did. Sure, running back James White can catch the ball out of the backfield and wide receiver Julien Edelman is a great short pass-catching option as well, but can Cam adjust to his new teammates quickly enough to be a viable option anyway?
Buy/Hold/Sell and Stidham could still start
From a fantasy standpoint, it’s difficult to know what Cam Newton’s dynasty value is now that he’s finally on a team. If you’ve held him this long, then odds are that you’re not looking to trade him away just yet. He could be a league winner, especially in SuperFlex leagues, if he’s even 80% of what he used to be. However, he also has a chance of never really catching on and retiring in September due to yet another injury. His low floor and high ceiling make for a risky addition to any team right now.
On the flip side, this news makes me think that now is a great time to buy Jarrett Stidham. He still has a solid shot at being the starter, and it’s possible that his current dynasty owner is frustrated at the thought of the team signing Newton. He’s a perfect buy-low target depending on what you have to give up to get him, and a great hold option if you’ve already rostered him. Might as well take a shot, right?
As for the other Patriots weapons, it’s difficult to predict what the right move is just yet. For the RBs like White and Sony Michel, Newton could provide a much-needed boost to their value if he is indeed the starter. For the WRs like Edelman and second-year player N’Keal Harry, they too could see a boost if that offense is as powerful as the Panthers used to be. If you’re looking to add risk to your dynasty team you might be able to get some of them on the cheap as dynasty owners digest the news. That being said, it’s pretty much buyer beware for anyone outside of the QBs in my opinion.
Where do you stand on this debate? Who will be the starter for the Patriots, and a better question, which QB will help your fantasy team more this year? Feel free to hit us up on Twitter to discuss!
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Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.