NY Jets: How the Cam Newton signing affects Gang Green

The NY Jets’ rivals just got stronger at the quarterback position with the addition of Cam Newton.

The NY Jets will enter the season with volatile expectations. While many are hoping for the team to improve upon their 7-9 record from a year ago, the fact remains that the roster might still be at least a year away from competing.

However, that doesn’t mean that fans won’t still be hoping for a playoff push this season. Especially with the new state of the AFC East following the departure of Tom Brady, there’s a renewed sense of optimism regarding the remainder of the division.

But on Sunday, we were reminded once again that it’s never wise to count the New England Patriots out.

The Patriots agreed to a deal with former NFL MVP Cam Newton signing him to a one-year contract.

And just like that, a quarterback room that featured veteran backup Brian Hoyer, unproven fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham, and two undrafted rookies now added a proven veteran starter.

What does this mean for the NY Jets? Let’s analyze.

Obviously the true impact this has on the Jets depends on your expectations for the team this year. If you’re not expecting to compete for a playoff spot, then there really isn’t much to talk about.

But let’s speak from an optimistic standpoint and assume the Jets have a real shot at the playoffs this year. How does the Patriots’ addition of Cam Newton affect the Jets’ odds of securing a playoff spot?

For starters, this doesn’t change who the division favorite is. The Patriots have a track record of success and it’s hard to ever bet against Bill Belichick, but the Buffalo Bills’ roster is a significantly better all-around group of players.

The Bills should be considered the preseason favorites to win the AFC East. The Newton signing moves the needle, but it doesn’t move it that much.

Really the question comes with how much of an improvement is Newton over the likes of Hoyer and Stidham? If he’s healthy, this really isn’t a discussion.

We haven’t seen a truly healthy Newton in a couple of seasons after dealing with a shoulder injury throughout much of 2018 and a foot injury that kept him sidelined for essentially all of 2019.

He’s been a shell of his former self over the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean that he’s shot. Newton’s had an entire offseason to rehab and if he could come back healthy in 2020, this is undoubtedly a massive addition for the Patriots.

Hoyer is a fine stopgap who’s nothing more than an underwhelming starter. Stidham showed potential in college and New England is reportedly high on him, but the flaws he showed at Auburn would need to be vastly improved upon before he should see meaningful NFL snaps.

It would have been foolish to enter the 2020 season with that duo at quarterback. Now, the Patriots have a lot more stability.

As for the Jets, they’ll now have to face Newton twice a year — assuming he remains healthy and earns the starting job. And there’s really no two ways about this, that’s not a good thing.

Newton is more dynamic than Hoyer and is more proven than Stidham. Suddenly, the AFC East is full of starting quarterbacks who provide value in multiple facets of the offense.

Assuming Tua Tagovailoa starts at some point for the Miami Dolphins this year, all three starting quarterbacks in the AFC East that the Jets will face provide value as both a runner and a passer.

That makes containing those players in the pocket and not allowing them to beat you with their legs all the more important. Expect to see plenty of contain assignments on the edge and QB spies this season.

A healthy Newton makes the Patriots a playoff team on paper. While they lost some key players in the offseason, their defense still remains stout. Their offensive line isn’t what it once was, but is still a capable unit.

And it’s not like Newton hasn’t had to deal with subpar receiving corps in the past.

Next: NY Jets: 3 X-factors for the team on offense in 2020

It remains to be seen if Newton can prove his health in 2020 and revitalize his career in New England. But the Patriots got insurance at the quarterback position and further solidified their roster.

That’s always bad news as a NY Jets fan.

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