By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton signed with the Patriots in late June because nobody else wanted him.
Cam Newton signed with the Patriots on an incentive-laden deal that can earn him a maximum of $7.5 million. That, too, was because nobody else wanted him.
Richard Sherman doesn’t have much to do with the offseason of Cam Newton, but the outspoken 49ers cornerback watched that free agency process — such as it was — from afar. And Sherman found Newton’s plight to be “disgusting.”
“How many former League MVPs have had to sign for the [minimum]?” Sherman rhetorically asked on Twitter, while adding in parentheses, “Asking for a friend.”
“Just ridiculous,” Sherman said. “A transcendent talent and less talented QBs are getting 15/16 [million] a year. Disgusting.”
How many former League MVPs have had to sign for the min? (Asking for a friend.) just ridiculous. A transcendent talent and less talented QBs are getting 15/16m a year. Disgusting https://t.co/eZycGL8qkZ
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) June 29, 2020
It has certainly been a unique offseason for Newton, who earned 48 of 50 NFL MVP votes in 2015. The Panthers “allowed” Newton to pursue a trade when it became clear that the team was moving on, but there were no takers for that contract. So the Panthers released Newton in March, but no teams sought him out prior to the draft or after the draft for that matter.
That lack of interest had to do a lot with Newton’s injuries, as he’s undergone shoulder and foot surgeries in recent years. Considering how much his game relied on mobility and running with the football, teams remained wary of the lasting impact of those ailments. Add in that no quarterback in the NFL has absorbed the beating that Newton has over the past nine years, and teams were likely skeptical of his abilities.
At the same time, some much less accomplished QBs did cash in with some deals.
Teddy Bridgewater, the man tabbed to replace Newton in Carolina, got a three-year, $63 million deal from the Panthers, with $40 million guaranteed over the first two years.
Veteran Philip Rivers, at the age of 38 and coming off a miserable season, got a $25 million one-year deal from the Colts.
Ryan Tannehill, whose first above-average season came in his seventh NFL season, cashed in with a four-year deal worth $118 million. That contract includes $62 million in full guarantees and $91 million in total guaranteed money.
Marcus Mariota, who lost his job to Tannehill, got a two-year deal from the Raiders worth $17.6 million, with $7.5 million guaranteed in the first year. And Mariota might not even play.
Then there is Newton, with an incentive-heavy deal worth a maximum of $7.5 million, who will have to sing for his supper.
For the Patriots, that is standard operating procedure. They made Tom Brady do exactly that over the past three years.
But for the rest of the NFL, it no doubt stood out how unwilling teams were to take a risk on Cam while also shelling out big bucks to less proven players. Newton certainly noticed, and based on Sherman’s comment, so did his playing peers.