The NFL offseason is often full of surprises and stories and even with the pandemic causing some restrictions, the transfer market is always a gift that keeps on giving. The Patriots allowing – or forcing – their talisman quarterback and the face of the organization Tom Brady to walk was one of the biggest headlines early this offseason and for a good reason. While Brady is 42 and not getting any younger, it’s not like Patriots were well covered in that position heading onwards after the 20 seasons under Brady’s command and expectations always sky high. But it appears, there was a plan after all.
In addition to being extremely successful, the six-time Super Bowl winner Brady has stayed ridiculously healthy throughout his career. He missed almost the entire 2008 season with foot injuries, but otherwise has only missed five games since taking over as a starter in 2001, and for four of those he was suspended and allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to tip his toes in the NFL-waters. Brady staying so healthy year in year out has not given Patriots any reason to even consider a viable backup, as there would be extremely limited possibilities to appear behind the starter. The latest victim of Brady’s form, that same Jimmy Garoppolo, took the reins in San Francisco after being traded in 2018, leading his new team to the Super Bowl last season. Other backups include names like Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and Jacoby Brissett – not exactly Brady-caliber playmakers.
When Brady announced he was taking off, it was speculated that last year’s fourth round pick Jarrett Stidham, who was the 3rd choice QB behind Brian Hoyer last season, would take the starting job after a year of learning the ropes from Brady. However, many did expect that Bill Belichick and the Patriots would somehow pull a rabbit out of their hat. And that they did, by bringing in the former MVP Cam Newton – somehow still a free agent late in June.
Newton led Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in his fifth season in 2015, but lost to Denver Broncos. While shoulder injuries have affected Newton’s play after the illustrious 2015 season of 35 TD passes, 10 rushing TD’s and 99.4 qb-rating, and the 31-year-old missed almost all of last season due to foot injury, his skillset is something that the Patriots are likely able to utilize to its full extent. With young and potential Stidham still tied down until 2022, Newton’s one year contract must have been a no-brainer for Belichicks crew. According to the statistics, Newton is almost as good at throwing the ball as Brady currently is. In addition, despite his injuries, Newton poses a threat on the ground as well, which was not exactly Brady’s strong suit. While it might be hard to believe, the Patriots just might’ve gotten better by exchanging Brady to Newton, and fortunately for bettors it seems the Patriots will continue to be on of the best NFL picks against the spread for next season. Just as everyone thought the Patriots would have a down year Bill Belichick turned the table back to his favor, nothing too surprising there.