On paper, it would stand to reason that a former league MVP would have the inside track over a former fourth-round pick who has thrown four career NFL passes.
The New England Patriots agreed to an incentive-laden one-year deal with Cam Newton on Sunday, and the 2015 NFL MVP is listed as the -400 moneyline favorite at DraftKings to be the team’s Week 1 starting quarterback. Second-year player Jarrett Stidham, a 2018 fourth-round pick, is being offered at +300, with Brian Hoyer’s odds lengthening to +2500.
Newton played in just two games last season before season-ending foot surgery. FanDuel is offering him at +340 to be named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, behind only Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and ahead of Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (+420).
The Newton-related odds have swung dramatically throughout the offseason.
He was favored to land with the Patriots until Andy Dalton appeared as a likely candidate to end up in the mix at New England. When Dalton signed with Dallas last month, sportsbooks again looked at Newton joining Bill Belichick in Foxborough, with FanDuel listing Stidham at -500, Hoyer at +400 and Newton at +850 last month to be the Patriots’ Week 1 starter.
That was despite Newton remaining a free agent at the time and reportedly willing to wait for a better starting opportunity to arise.
The Patriots did not select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft despite Tom Brady signing with the Buccaneers in free agency. Newton can reportedly earn up to $7.5 million with the Patriots this year.
“How many former League MVPs have had to sign for the min? (Asking for a friend.),” San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted on Sunday night. “just ridiculous. A transcendent talent and less talented QBs are getting 15/16m a year. Disgusting”
New England’s Super Bowl odds were not greatly impacted by Newton’s addition, with the Patriots offered at +1700 by FanDuel and +1800 by DraftKings — seventh among the 32 NFL teams at both books.
There are a handful of other legitimate quarterback competitions entering training camps.
Tyrod Taylor (-400) is favored by DraftKings to open as the Los Angeles Chargers’ Week 1 starter over first-round pick Justin Herbert (+280).
The book also is offering Ryan Fitzpatrick at -278 to open as the Miami Dolphins’ starter over No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa (+235).
The Chicago Bears have arguably the closest battle entering training camp, with FanDuel offering Mitchell Trubisky as a -130 favorite over Nick Foles (-110) to start Week 1.