The New England Patriots added a former MVP to their roster on Sunday, while seeing the league hand down their punishment for videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals sideline near the end of last season. The reports started with ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeting that the Patriots signed quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year deal. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport then added Newton’s deal could be worth as much as $7.5 million.
In nine seasons, Newton, the Carolina Panthers’ first-overall pick in 2011, has thrown for 29,041 yards on a 59.6 percent completion rate, with 182 touchdowns and 108 yards. He was the 2015 NFL MVP and has been selected to the Pro Bowl three times (2011, 2013, 2015). He only played in two games last year, however, after sustaining a Lisfranc fracture. He also missed the final two games of the 2018 season after acknowledging a shoulder injury that plagued him throughout much of the season; he underwent surgery on the shoulder just after the 2018 season ended.
Just 18 minutes after the report on Newton, Schefter was back with another tweet, this time reporting the punishments that stem from the December 2019 incident with the Bengals. In a game at the Cleveland Browns, the Browns had authorized the Patriots to bring a film crew to record their advance scout. The idea was to use the footage in a web-based show demonstrating what their behind the scenes employees do throughout the week. While that seemed straight-forward and without controversy, the fact that it is the Patriots ensure something would follow.
A Bengals staff member questioned the videographer when he realized the camera was pointed at the Bengals’ sideline. Reviewing the film, it appeared to the Bengals that the Patriots were using the video to record their sideline signals ahead of the scheduled meeting between the clubs the next week. The recording was turned over to the league and, after a seven month investigation, the league appears to have ruled the Patriots again broke NFL rules. According to Schefter, the Patriots were fined $1.1 million, lost a third-round pick next year, and the Patriots’ TV crew will not be allowed to video any 2020 game.
It was a rollercoaster few minutes where the Patriots seemed to be finding a way to replace Tom Brady, who signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 seasons in New England, only to then have the punishments fall on them as well. The addition of Newton has already had an impact on the outlook of the 2020 season. According to the oddsmakers at FoxBet.com, Newton moves the Patriots from 6/5 to win the AFC East to 1/1, from 10/1 to win the AFC to 7/1, and from 25/1 to win the Super Bowl to 19/1.
For more on Newton’s signing and on the punishment levied against the Patriots, check out Pats Pulpit.