The addition of Cam Newton makes the New England Patriots better than last week with alleged starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
But better than last season? When did they win an eleventh consecutive division title? With Tom Brady? Crazy talk.
Or not? He has a strong defense, a career-oriented offensive line and a stable group on his back.
"Honestly, I think the way the team is built now more closely matches Cam Newton's football than Tom Brady's football," NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms told The Post. "That's tailor-made for Cam, and now you have the ability to do more creative things within the running game. Now you have one of the biggest game and action offenses in football.
"If there was anything negative about Brady last year, it was an unwillingness to push the ball across the field." Now you have the guy who will hold on there and shoot him. "
Newton's incentive-laden year-long deal is pending a physical exam, not long after the shoulder and foot surgeries in 2019 on a mobile deep-ball pitcher.
The 2015 MVP was cut by the Carolina Panthers and remained a free agent for longer than expected due to a combination of coronavirus restrictions that prevented the team from physical exams and because so few teams are restless as a quarterback.
Kurt Warner went through a similar experience, cut by the St. Louis Rams after winning an MVP and reaching consecutive Super Bowls. He proved that the skeptics were wrong to restore a Hall of Fame career with the Arizona Cardinals.
"Because I had been through it, I understand that perception becomes reality in the NFL," an NFL Network analyst told The Post Warner. “If people perceive you as damaged property, I understand the people in the league who were provisional.
“When you have to rebuke yourself, you enjoy it. It is a different challenge when you go to different places and people do not know what you are capable of. If you are able to do the things you want to do, it is really very sweet. "
Simms came under fire last week for ranking a 31-year-old unsigned Newton at number 10, five points ahead of Brady, on his annual list of the NFL's Top 40 quarterbacks.
The Patriots were the only team to offer Newton a contract, according to ESPN. Why Simms on a wavelength shared only by Bill Belichick?
In Newton's training videos shared on social media, Simms saw quick passes and aggressive jumps with the will to press his left foot. He studied the 2018 movie to see the metamorphosis of a better pocket pin.
"People are sleeping with this guy," said Simms. "Cam Newton is not the type a team wants to bring in to be a backup quarterback. He is going to threaten (almost) any other quarterback. Every day when they leave the field, the team will go,, Did you see our backup quarterback today? Did you see Cam Newton run and make that pitch? "It would divide the team."
Warner imagines the Patriots handling Newton like the Seahawks and Russell Wilson, limiting designed runs (and collisions) by using early game read options as masked transfers, saving body wear and tear until you need one. special play in the fourth quarter.
While there is nothing that creative minds in New England can forget, for example, a two-quarterback rotation or a Taysom Hill-like specialty role to limit Newton's exposure to injury, the solution is probably simpler. The NFL's most versatile playbook changed year after year during Brady's tenure to accommodate surrounding staff, so there are already Newton-friendly pages that aren't used.
"I might see them as more likely to say we're going to put a pitch count on Cam in terms of shots, very similar to what the Ravens heard about with Lamar Jackson," Warner said. “If Cam is your headline, you're not going to try to spell him out as a young boy. You're going to try to keep it cooler.
If it works, the AFC panorama has just changed.
"I think everyone in AFC East and AFC in general was breathing with relief: We don't have to go through Tom Brady now," Warner said. “Now you have Cam Newton there and everyone takes a step back. If he is the type he has been in the past, now they become dangerous, and perhaps even a favorite. I think a lot of people look at the Patriots 180 (different degrees) from where they saw them yesterday. "