BOSTON — The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, bringing in the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 NFL season to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The one-year deal is worth up to $7.5 million with incentives, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly. A Patriots spokesman said the team had nothing to announce Sunday night.
The signing was first reported by ESPN.
"I'm as excited as I don't what right now!!" Newton posted on Instagram. "All praise to God!! Dropping content tomorrow!! I hope you're ready!! Let'sgoPats."
The Patriots had been moving toward training camp with 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham as the heir apparent to Brady, who led the team to six Super Bowl championships since 2001 but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. Stidham — who, like Newton, transferred to Auburn to complete his collegiate career — appeared in three games this past season, completing two passes for 14 yards with one interception.
The only other experienced quarterback on the 11-time reigning AFC East champions' roster was 34-year-old Brian Hoyer, who has started 38 games in an 11-year career with seven NFL teams, including the Patriots twice.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection who led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 to cap the 2015 season, Newton is the NFL's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He had one year remaining on a five-year, $103.8 million contract, but the Panthers saved $19.1 million under the salary cap by releasing him on March 24.
The 31-year-old Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft after leading Auburn to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy. He helped the Panthers reach the playoffs four times, including the Super Bowl run that ended with a loss to the Denver Broncos in Peyton Manning's final game.
The Panthers finished 15-1 that season, and Newton won league MVP honors after throwing for 3,837 and 35 touchdowns and rushing for 636 yards and 10 tochdowns. But he was criticized after Carolina's 24-10 loss to the Broncos for not jumping on a loose ball late in the game and cutting his postgame news conference short.
After missing the postseason in 2016, the Panthers returned to the playoffs after going 11-5 the next year, losing to the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round. More problematic, a shoulder injury severely hampered Newton's throwing in 2018; after starting 6-2, the Panthers lost their next seven games.
Newton had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff before the 2019 season, but he injured his foot in a brief appearance in the third preseason game against New England; he played only two games last season before being placed on injured reserve with a Lis Franc fracture.
Newton has been rehabbing ever since, posting several workout videos on Instagram, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, he hasn't had a chance to meet with other teams to show he's healthy.
In nine NFL seasons, he has completed 2,371 passes for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns with 108 interceptions. He has also run for 4,806 yards and 58 scores.
Pats get bad news
NEW YORK — The Patriots have been fined $1.1 million by the NFL for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline during a game last season.
On Sunday, the league also took away a third-round pick in the 2021 draft.
Also, the team's production crew will not be allowed to shoot any games in the 2020 season.
ESPN first reported the penalties. NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the discipline to the AP.
The filming occurred at the Bengals' road game against the Cleveland Browns this past Dec. 8. The Bengals hosted the Patriots the following week and lost 34-13.
When the taping became known last season, the team said at the time a three-person crew producing a web series titled "Do Your Job" "inappropriately filmed the field from the press box" as part of a feature on the scouting department.
The filming took place "without specific knowledge of league rules," the statement said.
Also, the Patriots' statement last season said that while they were granted credentials for the crew from the Browns, "our failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight."
When confronted, the team said the crew "immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully."
At the time, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said neither he nor his coaching staff had watched any of the video footage.
"I personally have never viewed any video footage at all, anything that those production people have done, other than what's shown on public television or something like that," Belichick said in December.
Previously, New England was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick in 2007 for violating NFL rules against using video to steal signals in a scandal dubbed "Spygate." Belichick was also fined $500,000.
Spygate fueled a distrust of the Patriots that persisted when the team was accused of illegally deflating the footballs used in the 2015 AFC championship game.
The punishment by the NFL in that case was also severe. Brady was suspended four games, and the team was fined $1 million and docked another first-round draft pick.
He was chief of the Hogs
Former Washington Redskins assistant coach Joe Bugel, regarded as one of the top offensive line coaches in NFL history, has died. He was 80.
Bugel died on Sunday, according to a release from the team, which did not disclose a cause of death.
He was the architect of "The Hogs," the dominant offensive lines that helped lead the team to three Super Bowl titles under head coach Joe Gibbs, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Bugel was the team's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for two seasons (1981-82) and became the assistant head coach in 1983, a role he had until 1989 before becoming the head coach of the Phoenix Cardinals. He returned for a second stint with the team as assistant head coach (offense) from 2004 to 2009 as Gibbs led the Redskins for a second time.
"Joe had an incredible passion for the game of football. He came to work every day with such great excitement and his players had tremendous respect for him. The strength of our coaching staff on both sides of the ball was a key reason we had so much success," Gibbs said in a released statement.
"Bugel was such a big part of that and his impact was felt not only by those Redskins teams, but truly across the entire league. I will miss his friendship and I will always cherish our late-night arguments putting together the game plan each week. Pat and I will be praying for his wife Brenda, his girls and their entire family."
With players such as Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby and Hall of Famer Russ Grimm on the offensive line, Washington won the Super Bowl to cap the 1982, 1987 and 1991 seasons with three different quarterbacks.
Joe Theismann, the QB for the team's first Super Bowl title, wrote on Twitter: "Joe Bugel was a friend as much as a coach. For those of us who had the privilege to know him we were blessed. He'll have the best Oline in heaven. RIP Joe."
Bugel was promoted to assistant head coach in 1983, the year the Redskins scored 541 points, setting an NFL record that has since been broken. That team reached the Super Bowl, too, but it lost to the Los Angeles Raiders.
In his first nine years in Washington, Bugel helped the Redskins have four 1,000-yard rushers, one 4,000-yard passer and nine 1,000-yard receivers.
Helped the Bucs start
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. — Phil Krueger, who helped build a dominant defense as an assistant for 1967 national champion Southern California and later became part of the first coaching staff in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, has died. He was 90.
Krueger died last Monday at his home, his family said.
Skilled in all phases of the game, Krueger coached offense, defense and special teams during more than three decades in the NFL and college. He was the head coach at Fresno State and Utah State, going 31-22, and an assistant at Illinois.
Krueger moved from the field to Tampa Bay's front office and spent 10 years as an executive, known for his skill in negotiating contracts. He was hired as the Buccaneers' first general manager in 1991 — prior to that, the team's coaches made the player decisions.
Krueger worked under famed head coach John McKay at Southern Cal and Tampa Bay. Krueger's fellow assistant at both places was Gibbs, who went on to lead the Redskins.
Gibbs and Krueger were hotel roommates when Southern Cal played on the road.
"I have a lot of great memories from being on the same coaching staff with Phil," Gibbs said last week. "He was very bright. A sharp guy with a great sense of humor. He was one of those guys that you always enjoyed being around."
Krueger's career path was set early on when he switched from grammar to the gridiron. He was teaching English at a high school in Arizona when he took over the football program, and later landed a job as an assistant coach at Long Beach City College.
Krueger was a defensive assistant at Southern from 1966 to 1970. In 1967, the Trojans went 10-1 — holding seven opponents to seven or fewer points — and won the national title.
"My favorite coach of all time," former Southern Cal and longtime NFL linebacker Charlie Weaver said Saturday from his home in Fresno, California. "He recruited me out of junior college, and I couldn't wait to get to USC to play under the tutelage of Coach Krueger."
In 1970, Weaver, Krueger and the Trojans were part of one of most significant college football games ever. A fully integrated squad went to Birmingham and beat Bear Bryant's all-white Alabama team 42-21 in a matchup not nearly as close as the final score indicated.
"Coach Krueger had us prepared to play; it was a beatdown," Weaver recalled.
Booted from the CFL
EDMONTON, Alberta — The Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos released Christion Jones on Sunday, a day after the former Alabama receiver/kick returner made homophobic comments on Twitter.
Jones wrote: "Ima keep it this real Man ain't supposed to be with a man. A women is not suppose to be with another women. THATS ME THO! Live life with safety."
Following his release, Jones apologized with another tweet Sunday.
"My words were deeply hurtful, painful and served zero purpose," Jones said. "I added to the struggle of a community, to live a life free of oppression of any kind. I sincerely apologize. I was wrong."
Jones joined Edmonton midway through last season after four years with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"We stand by the LGBTQ2+ community and firmly condemn the language used by Christion Jones," the Eskimos said in a relesed statement. "There is no place for such commentary on our team."
The CFL also released a statement: "Our league makes no claim on perfection but it does strive to be inclusive, to accept and indeed celebrate our differences, and to respect and honour human rights. There is no place in our league for commentary that disparages people on the basis of their religion, race, gender or sexual orientation."