How Many Games Will Cam Newton Start in 2020?
It was the nightmare scenario we were all dreading. With each passing day as former NFL MVP Cam Newton sat at home, working out and rehabbing alone amidst the backdrop of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the danger loomed ever closer.
I first broached the possibility back in March, when Newton was still officially on the Panthers’ roster, but they had made clear their desire to push him out the door. As Newton floundered in free agency and no team in need of a QB could work him out, the peril became ever more real until it finally happened.
Sunday, Newton signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. The nightmare had been manifest.
The numbers on the deal were startling. Cam will make $7.5 million in 2020, a low figure that has players around the NFL talking. For the low number, I’ll say three things. First, nobody forced Newton to sign it. This is the deal he and the Patriots agreed to. Two, Newton hasn’t played a healthy NFL game since 2018, so it’s not ridiculous to factor that in. And three, if Newton plays like his old self, which I suspect he will, he’ll command $30 million a year next season and someone, maybe even New England, will be happy to pay it.
Newton isn’t the only QB on the Patriots depth chart. He’s currently going to share a quarterback room with second-year man Jarrett Stidham, NFL journeyman Brian Hoyer and future practice squad tackling dummy Brian Lewerke.
Will Newton beat out these guys for the job? Yes. Immediately yes, without so much as throwing a pass. None of these players are in Newton’s league and that has nothing to do with Stidham’s potential. It could be great. He’s not better than Cam Newton and likely never will be.
So, knowing that Newton will be handed the starting job the moment his temperature is taken at the team facility doorway, how many games will he start?
The current odds for Newton going over 8.5 starts pays at -130. Under 8.5 starts pays at +100.
That’s not a bad payout, -130, on what I feel is an easy bet. Bet let’s do a little analysis first off to see what could possibly go wrong and keep Newton off the field.
Say he’s not 100 percent healthy and still needs another couple of months to get right. That means time he can’t work with the team and build a rapport with his receivers and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. While Newton is sidelined, Stidham gets all the reps and performs well enough the team is comfortable giving him the early season starts while Newton’s foot heals up completely.
Can Stidham play well enough to keep the job with a healthy Newton right behind him on the depth chart?
Nope. No way. While it’s entirely possible for a Stidham-led Pats team to beat the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, they’ll lose to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 and will absolutely lose to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4. Their other two games before the bye are against the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos, both at home, but toss ups with Stidham at QB. At best, they’re 3-2 entering the bye. At worst, they’re 1-4. Either way, once that Oct. 25 game against the San Francisco 49ers shows up on the schedule, Cam Newton is the quarterback.
Now, I think Newton gets the start from Week 1 on, which means the only way he won’t pass up 8.5 wins is if he gets hurt again. Which is possible. So if you’re betting at under 8.5 starts, you’re basically wagering on Newton’s shoulder or foot being a problem.
I don’t think it will be and now the Patriots dynasty we, as a civilization, were so ready to see come to an end will just keep chugging along. God help us all.