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Report: Patriots Can Place Franchise Tag On Cam Newton For 2021

BOSTON (CBS) -- Cam Newton's deal with the Patriots is for just one season, as the former league MVP will be looking to prove everybody wrong with a bounceback season for the ages. And if Newton succeeds in that endeavor, the Patriots will have the contractual freedom to keep the quarterback around for a second year.

That's because, according to CBS' Jason La Canfora, the language in Newton's contract does not restrict the team from placing the franchise tag on Newton for 2021, if the team wanted to do so.

Of course, the Patriots would only be inclined to make such a move if two things happen. First, Newton would have to play like a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. Secondly, the Patriots and Newton would have to have been unable to find any common ground on a long-term contract. It's entirely possible that at some point between September and March, the two sides do indeed agree to a longer-term deal.

Newton is set to earn a base salary of $1.1 million in 2020, with a number of incentives that could earn him up to $7.5 million.

The cost for a quarterback with the franchise tag in 2020 is just under $27 million. The Patriots would likely be very hesitant to dedicate that kind of money to the quarterback, but with a large amount of cap space opening up after the 2020 season, Bill Belichick is likely quite pleased to have that option at his disposal.

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