Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is signing a one-year deal with the New England Patriots, per a source with knowledge of the situation.
The former MVP's one-year deal is worth up to $7.5 million, per an NFL Network report.
"I'm excited as I don't know what right now," Newton shared on his Instagram story Sunday night, confirming the news.
After remaining on the free agent market for 96 days, Newton found his second team a month prior to when training camps are scheduled to begin. In New England, he will be join fellow former Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer in a competition for the starting job after six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.
Newton spent the first nine years of his career in Carolina after the Panthers drafted him with the first overall pick in 2011. He was released in March after the Panthers and his agents were unable to find a suitable trade partner.
Some of the delay in him landing with a new team came due to the travel restrictions in place because of COVID-19. Free agents were not permitted to visit other teams facilities or to be looked at by team physicians over the past few months.
Newton suffered a Lisfranc injury during the Panthers' third preseason game in New England last August. He later got surgery on his left foot in December. The quarterback also underwent two surgeries in the last three years on his throwing shoulder, one in March 2017 and again in January 2019.
Making sure the 31-year-old is healthy after sitting all but the first two games of the 2019 season was a major factor for teams considering signing Newton.
Newton had one year left on his contract and was owed $21.1 million when the Panthers elected to release him. Carolina has a salary cap hit of only $2 million in dead money with the move.
He expressed numerous times throughout the months leading up to his release that he wanted to remain a Panther. In late January, Newton publicly said he "absolutely" believed that he would be in Carolina in 2020. Newton's desire to remain with the Panthers remained until the end, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
The Panthers have a completely new quarterback room. Teddy Bridgewater agreed to a three-year deal the same day the team made it public that they were seeking a trade for Newton. The Panthers also have signed XFL quarterback, and former Temple player under Matt Rhule, P.J. Walker and traded last year's starter of 12 games, Kyle Allen, to Washington. Second-year player Will Grier is the only constant.
Newton is the franchise leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, pass attempts, completions, 300-yard passing games and rushing touchdowns. He led the Panthers to four playoff appearances and one Super Bowl trip. During his tenure, they a compiled 53.1 winning percentage, 11th best.
He has faced the Patriots twice in the regular season, defeating New England both times. In those games, he completed 71.9% of his passes, threw six touchdowns to one interception and had one rushing touchdown.
While the 2020 NFL schedule is in doubt because of COVID-19, the Panthers are currently scheduled to travel to the Patriots for the second week of the preseason on Aug. 20.
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