Laird: When it comes to Cam Newton, just sit back and enjoy the ride


Patriots fans, Cam Newton just brought you a good deal of unexpected pleasure on a Sunday afternoon amidst a pandemic.

Do you have to ruin the euphoric moment by immediately fearing the joy ride’s end?

The answer of course is no, you don’t. Superman: The Ride has just begun its initial descent. And Bill Belichick has his hands up in the back row.

I’m not usually one to tell others how to live their lives or how to feel, but here’s some unsolicited advice: Ignore the irrational swooners (like my morning show colleague Jermaine Wiggins) who are asking - nay demanding - that Newton get a multi-year contract extension after just one week’s work, impressive though it was.

A better idea: Embrace your inner Bill Belichick and move on to Seattle with a smile on your face.

September 13, 2020 was a great day to be a fan watching football in Foxborough. Newton checked off every box on the pre-Patriots questionnaire: Can he show he’s healthy, grasp the new playbook, carry the ball with confidence, throw it with accuracy, lead a critical late-game drive, show elite leadership, keep his composure and speak afterward with class? Can he fill the GOAT’s shoes?

Yes, times 9.

Thanks to Newton, Belichick has never looked more magnificent. If Cam keeps playing this way, that Newton bargain-basement contract will be the executive cherry on top of Belichick’s eight-ring coaching sundae. Bill may have just painted his General Manager masterpiece.

You can bet he’s soaking it all in, too, with Brady’s pick-six throw to Janoris Jenkins from Week 1 playing on a loop on his office TV, acting as the bubble bath.

Why in the hell would Belichick want to think about Newton’s next contract right now?

Living in the present is probably a good life idea, anyway. There are enough self-help books (or just ‘help’ books, as George Carlin used to say) dedicated to that mantra that the philosophy of now - of not being burdened by the unhappiness of past memories nor fear of the future calamities - probably has some merit.

But in the case of this fear-of-Newton-abandonment after this season, it’s just a ridiculous waste of the moment. It’s a failure in Bill-osophy.

And even if Belichick wanted to lock up Cam for the long-term, neither side at this point knows what he’s worth.

I quickly checked in with two people who know the ballpark values on these sorts of things, former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt and Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti.

The response from Brandt: “Too early to assess obviously but he was on the market for four months with no offers and signed for near minimum.”

And from Ginnitti: “Really tough question. I had him valued this summer in a starting QB role at around 2 years, $30 million. My initial approach would be to use that as a starting point in 2020 and build it up or down based on production. If I had to give a high point right now I’d put it at $25M… potentially a 4-year, $100 million extension.”

So, Cam Newton is worth somewhere between the league minimum and $100 million dollars on his next contract. Great.

The reality is despite Newton playing at an MVP level on Sunday, Newton’s age and durability will still be areas of concern next offseason given his playing style. And 15-carries against Miami suggests Belichick might just ride him until the wheels fall off before he gets to another kick of the free agency can.

Plus, the first Newton kick of that can was so Charlie Brown-like, Cam has a docu-series ready for release about the 86 horrific nights he spent alone without a suitor.

Does that sound like a guy who is excited to try the dating game again in 2021?

If you listened to Newton’s appearance on The Greg Hill Show this week, he sounded like a guy ready to pledge his life to Belichick and the Patriots. The team holds almost all the leverage right now.

And here’s another reason you shouldn’t get too involved with extend-Cam-Newton thoughts: Belichick might never walk down the aisle with another QB again.

It’s very possible Brady has ruined long term relationships for Belichick, and we know he’s never been a guy built on sentimentality at any other position on the field.

Might Belichick approach post-Brady life with a year-by-year QB approach? Yep.

Might he just use Cam Newton for one season, then move on to Jarrett Stidham in 2021 with new rookie or free agent options in the mix as value dictates? Possible, if not probable.

Maybe the Kevin Garnett mantra is the better Patriots one to live by these days: Anything is possible. Even at QB in post-Brady life.

We’re all beginning to watch bachelor Belichick enjoy his new freedom from commitments. And thanks to his new dealer Newton, Belichick just split face cards at the NFL’s blackjack table and drew a pair of Aces to match.

Enjoy the ride, Pats fans. The post-Brady future is now.