Written by Paul Meara
The NFL has been in a quarterback signing frenzy this week and it means a major payday for two of the league’s most-watched people playing the position.
Cam Newton signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the New England Patriots. In 2020, the former NFL MVP’s success varied as he flourished on the ground with 592 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, but struggled to maintain a steady passing game for the Pats through the air, throwing for only 2,657 yards and more interceptions (10) than TDs (8).
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Newton provided somewhat of a spark and change of offensive philosophy for the Patriots in 2020 after the departure of Tom Brady, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason.
The Patriots went 7-9 in 2020, their worst record since Brady joined the team in 2000 and the first time they finished with a losing record since that season. The decline, however, wasn’t all Cam’s fault.
The Patriots had the most number of players in the league opt-out due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lackluster offensive weapons Cam had to work with were largely the same ones Brady had during his final season in NE, which was a major cause in his departure.
While Cam may not be New England’s long-term play at the quarterback position, it does provide an answer to the question over who their starter will be heading into 2021. His experience and intangibles can benefit the Pats next season, provided they put more playmakers around him.
With Brady (who agreed to a contract extension with the Bucs) winning Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, it’s going to be up to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Newton to prove that the championship’s MVP wasn’t the only reason the team landed six rings in 19 seasons.
But Newton isn’t the only NFL quarterback that cashed in this week.
Ever since Dak Prescott went down with a severe ankle injury against the New York Giants last season, it seemed imminent that the Cowboys were going to pay top dollar to keep their franchise quarterback. And that’s exactly what happened.
Entering his sixth NFL season, Prescott inked a lucrative deal earlier this week, signing for four years and $160 million with an NFL-record $66 million signing bonus. It’s a move he and Dallas both hope will bring a Super Bowl ring to the franchise for the first time since the 1990s.
“That’s my plan, get a parade in Dallas,” Prescott said during a Wednesday press conference after inking the extension, according to ESPN. “As a competitor, you watch people celebrate, you watch people do what you want to do and there’s not too many more things that light a fire under you than somebody having what you want. And every year we’re not in the playoffs, or we didn’t make that run, that’s just more fire to it.”
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He added: “You throw on there that I was holding my leg and didn’t have a chance to be out there while guys were doing what was taken away from me, I’m just excited to get out there and show you what this team can do. The next big press conference we have is hopefully in another year after that big parade. So there you go.”
The deal comes after the Cowboys franchise-tagged Dak for the 2020 season. Prior to the upcoming 2021 season, the possibility loomed that Dallas would tag him again if they weren’t able to come to a contract extension. During negotiations, Prescott pushed to be one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, which came to fruition this week.
Without Prescott’s services due to the ankle injury last season, the Cowboys went 4-7 and finished third in the NFC East – the NFL’s worst division which was won by a team with no current name (Washington Football Team) and a losing record (7-9).
Under Dak, the Cowboys have attained modest success, winning the NFC East in 2018 and a playoff game that same year. Overall, Prescott’s career win/loss record is 47-27 and he’s been selected to the Pro Bowl twice.