New York (AFP) - Cam Newton said Thursday that signing with the New England Patriots was about respect not money as he looks to replace departed quarterback Tom Brady with the perennial NFL powerhouse.
Newton went public with his first comments after a long free agency wait due to injury concerns ended with him joining the Patriots and just hours after reports he signed for only $550,000 in guaranteed money on a $1.05 million base salary in an incentive-laden deal.
"It's not a lot of things money cannot buy, but amongst the top of that list of things, you would find respect as one of those," Newton posted on his Instagram account.
"This is not about money for me; it's about respect."
Hashtags with the message included "All I know is work," and "I'm betting it all on me."
The 31-year-old signal-caller, the NFL's 2015 Most Valuable Player, spent his first nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
Newton led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in 2016, when Carolina lost to Denver, but he struggled with injuries in 2018 and 2019 and the Panthers released him last March, declining to pay the last year on his five-season deal worth $103.8 million.
By comparison, Newton would make a maximum of $7.5 million if he reached every possible incentive on his new deal with the Patriots, who were said to be the only club interested in him.
New England was looking for an experienced passer after parting ways with six-time Super Bowl champion Brady, who left in March and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady turns 43 next month.
The coronavirus pandemic kept NFL clubs from conducting workouts and exams of Newton, so the run-pass threat was unable to show how well he had healed from a foot injury.
Newton, the top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, said in a Monday video that he never wanted to leave Carolina but knew the club wanted to part ways with him.