The New England Patriots have named Cam Newton their starting quarterback, The Boston Globe reports.
His teammates also voted him captain, according to the Boston Herald.
Newton signed a one-year deal with New England in the offseason after being released by the Carolina Panthers.
Newton wasn’t guaranteed Patriots job
The three-time Pro Bowler was the favorite to win the job, but wasn’t considered a shoo-in as he competed with Jarrett Stidham and Bryan Hoyer, both of whom have experience playing for head coach Bill Belichick in New England. Newton, 31, arrived in New England after two injury-plagued seasons in Charlotte impacted his performance and availability, and ultimately led to his ouster.
He fell off of his Pro Bowl form in 2018 while throwing with an injured shoulder. A foot injury forced him to miss all but two games in 2019. If he can stay healthy, the Patriots have a former league MVP to fill in the massive shoes left behind by Tom Brady.
Newton’s immediate impact in New England
Newton was more accurate and made fewer mistakes in training camp than Stidham and Hoyer, according to beat reporters. He also provides a dynamic with his running ability that Stidham and Hoyer can’t compete with.
Belichick has publicly praised his new quarterback’s performance and presence at camp. Special teams captain and 12-year Patriots veteran Matthew Slater also praised Newton.
“Cam has been a joy to be around,” Slater said, per the Herald. “He brings positive energy to work every day. He loves his job. He’s just a fun guy to be around. I’m glad that we’ve gotten a chance to spend some time with him as a teammate and really get to know him.”
Newton’s fall with Panthers a Patriots opportunity
Newton was a mainstay in Carolina as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance and earned MVP honors in 2015. He was the most visible player in the history of the franchise.
With his injuries and a regime change in ownership and management, the Panthers initiated a rebuild by jettisoning Newton and longtime head coach Ron Rivera last season.
Newton joined the Patriots as a relatively risk-free option on a contract that guarantees just $550,000 with incentives that increase the value to $7.5 million. If he stays healthy and comes anywhere close to repeating his Pro Bowl form, paying those incentives will add up to a bargain for the Patriots as they seek their 12th straight AFC East title.
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