Patriots

NFL Notebook: What is the possible downside with Cam Newton for the Patriots?

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(Getty Images)

We've made no secret of the fact that we hoped and expected the Patriots to add a viable veteran starter like Cam Newton at some point in the offseason. And that, also, given health, Newton, who was reportedly in Boston on Saturday to take his physical and sign his contract, should be the starter for the Patriots because his all-around skills give an offense with limited talent the best chance to be successful.

But we've also told you Newton will need to improve in some areas to be really effective in this offense, or he could leave the door open for Jarrett Stidham.

And we've also written that there's no downside to this signing, that it's a no-lose bet.

Actually, we've changed our mind on that now that we've heard more about the terms of the contract (still waiting for the official details). While we still think the chances are low Newton could have an adverse effect on the Patriots — the health issues that made him available to the Patriots at that price are the main insurance — they are still there.

I don't think there is a Randy Moss-like risk, where Moss started to sulk and took others with him. The Patriots, at this point, have way too much strong leadership in the locker room, compared to 2009-10. Matthew Slater, Devin & Jason McCourty, Dont'a Hightower, James White and David Andrews — the strongest leaders on the team with the most sway — will not allow this team to be knocked off track from within. I just can't see that happening.

But the risk with Newton is similar to what sent Moss into a spiral at the beginning of the 2010 season and eventually led to his trade out of New England: his contract.

How an issue with Newton could play out, and what I think could very well be the saving grace that virtually (but not completely) eliminates that risk for the Patriots: