If Cam Newton thrives in New England, Bill Belichick owes Norv Turner a thank you note.
The Patriots reportedly signed the free-agent quarterback to a heavily-incentivized, one-year contract Sunday. If he stays healthy, Newton should be New England's starting QB over Jarrett Stidham and could help the Patriots return to dominance in the AFC after losing Tom Brady to free agency.
That's a big "if," though: Newton has missed 16 games over the last two seasons due to shoulder and foot injuries and turned 31 last month, which may explain why he went unsigned for three months after the Carolina Panthers released him in March.
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So, why did the Patriots take a chance on Newton? According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Turner -- who was Newton's offensive coordinator in Carolina for part of the 2018 season -- may have played a role by strongly recommending his former QB when Belichick called for a reference a couple months ago.
Turner also doesn't think Newton's health will hold him back in 2020.
"My whole deal is, when Cam was healthy, and we were there with him [in 2018], we were 6–2," Turner told Breer on Sunday night. "Just look at the tape-played his ass off. His issue was more health than anything else, and from what I understand, I don't think these are health issues that he can't overcome. He's had the time off now. I think he'll be great."
Newton thrived under Turner during that eight-game span, completing 177 of 263 passes (67.3 percent) for 1,893 yards while throwing 15 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions.
That stretch was the last time Newton was fully healthy, so the three-time Pro Bowler will have plenty of rust to shake off. But the Patriots have their own creative offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels who could help Newton return to his pre-injury level of success.
"I think it'll be really good for Cam," Turner told Breer. "And I think it'll be good for the Patriots."
How Norv Turner helped sell Bill Belichick, Patriots on Cam Newton originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston