New England Patriots: Cam Newton will be starting quarterback

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 08: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass the ball during their game against the Los Angeles Rams at Bank of America Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Rams won 30-23. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 08: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass the ball during their game against the Los Angeles Rams at Bank of America Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Rams won 30-23. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots observers who think Cam Newton was brought on to sit on the bench, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

New England Patriots observers who have the slightest doubt that Cam Newton won’t be New England’s quarterback on day one of the 2020 season, well, shouldn’t. Cam will start and Cam may very well start another revolution in New England.

Newton has brought along a very important new dynamic for Patriots fans all over New England, the nation, and the world. It’s called moving on.

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As much as we loved No. 12, he’s no longer a Patriot. He will be again after he retires. But not now.

It’s time to move on with Cam and the new-look Patriots. Any questions about whether New England will move on with an offense created around Cam and his amazing abilities are well, not real.

Newton is a unique quarterback. A unique athlete. Frankly, we’ve only seen his like in an athlete in New England football before. That exception is Hall-of-Famer John Hannah. (Talking basketball? The guy’s name is Bill Russell.)

Hannah dominated everyone against whom he played, physically. In the trenches of the Patriots offensive line.

At left guard.  It didn’t matter against whom he was pitted. A rookie 7th-round pick defensive tackle or an All-Pro. Hannah mauled and manhandled all of them. No offensive lineman in the history of the league has ever been as dominant as Hannah, before or since.

Newton as a quarterback has that same type of overwhelming dominance from a much more visible and important position on the team. The team’s fate essentially will now rest in his hands. It’s going to be amazing to see Cam running the RPO with New England.

Cam in New England is “terrifying”. Lamar Jackson can elude you with his electrifyingly elusive running. Cam will steamroll you if he decides to lug the rock himself.

And if he doesn’t, he can do a whole lot more with it as well.

It’s not only his punishing running style that will strike fear into New England’s opponents, but it’s also his ability to tap into the versatility of his offensive teammates. Guys like Julian Edelman and James White linked up with Newton is the stuff of angst and dread for opposing teams. If you’re game-planning for New England now, you’re game-planning for everything.

I’ve conjectured before that if you have to game plan for everything, you’re basically game-planning for nothing. You can’t defend all of the possibilities that New England can now throw at you.

That’s with one caveat, that New England has the offensive skill players to help Cam deliver. That’s the biggest question facing New England at-present.

I’ve speculated that Newton can become a magnet to attract players to New England just as Tom Brady has for the past two decades.

And hopefully, he’ll be on the phone trying to get a couple of offensive skill guys who are available to make a move over to New England to join the fun.

Or maybe he’ll even talk to the head coach about trading for one or two.  It makes perfect sense. A 60-catch wide receiver and a big running back would fit in nicely.

Cam is on a new mission.

"In turning the page from the Carolina Panthers to the New England Patriots, Cam Newton is saying he’s ready to start the next chapter in his career.  He is ready for a new beginning and excited for that new beginning which is dangerous for anything facing the Patriots in 2020."

I’m not going to rule out an extended stay here in New England for Cam either. If the Patriots new offense works (and that means if Cam stays healthy, that’s the only “if”) and they continue to compete at the highest levels, why wouldn’t he consider staying on and building a dynasty of his own?

The Patriots projected cap space in 2021 at the fourth highest in the league after this season with $94.1M available. Right, out of cap jail and into cap freedom, and more could become available as they say in these potential ways,

"There are a few ways New England can clear some cap room heading into next season, of course. One way would be trading All-Pro guard Joe Thuney ($14.8 million cap hit) or signing him to a contract extension. Extending cornerback Stephon Gilmore ($18.7 million), linebacker Dont’a Hightower ($14.8 million), or defensive tackle Lawrence Guy ($12.4 million) would help the cause too."

Any or all of those potential cap moves could eventuate next season, potentially freeing up maybe another $10-15M in additional cap space. There will be plenty of cash available to re-sign a top-echelon quarterback even without those additional moves.

Quarterback is the most valuable player on the field and therefore most likely to be the most highly paid. If you’re going to spend, spend it there, on an MVP-level quarterback.

Here are the predictions, if Cam stays healthy, the Patriots will likely win the AFC East. If they add a very good skill player or two before the season begins and the offensive line and defense stay relatively healthy, they will contend for the AFC title. After that, who knows how far they might go.

Recent settlements with former players have free up about $6.5M to spend for New England. This is the cash they need to spend on offensive skill additions.

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Should they do that and stay relatively healthy, here’s a suggestion for the Patriots 2020 opponents, “Be afraid, be very afraid!” Can’t wait until the new look, multi-faceted Patriots offense is in play. Can’t wait.