The agent posited that Newton, with a strong season, could attract a deal similar to the $100 million contract that Vick, then 31, got from the Eagles before the 2011 season — a contract that Vick, now an analyst for Fox, called personally validating.
Newton has not had to prove himself to such an extent since 2009, when he attended Blinn College to regain N.C.A.A. eligibility after flaming out at Florida. He arrived at the campus in Brenham, Texas, without a car or a starting role but parlayed that stopover into an enchanted season at Auburn, where he won the Heisman Trophy and the national championship.
New England, in many respects, offers a similar springboard for Newton, who will play the marquee position for the most successful N.F.L. franchise of the past 25 years. It is a chance to reclaim his primacy and visibility while also making a social statement of sorts, as a high-profile Black quarterback alighting in Boston, a city that has a reputation for being inhospitable to Black people.
Playing behind the best offensive line of his career, Newton will benefit from the tutelage of the coordinator Josh McDaniels, who, by marrying Newton’s running acumen with his play-action passing prowess, can finally stress defenses in a way that the Patriots’ primary challengers in the A.F.C. — Kansas City, Baltimore, Houston — have done to them.
Newton is already building a rapport with receiver Mohamed Sanu, with whom he worked out last week in Los Angeles. Watching them train, Drew Lieberman, Sanu’s private receiving coach, was struck not only by Newton’s fluid mechanics and movements — “Not a single thing made me think he was ever hurt,” Lieberman said — but also by his messaging. Sounding a familiar trope, Newton expressed how fueled he is by those who doubt him.
On Instagram, where Newton keeps a carefully produced account of his workouts captioned with signature flair in a dingbat font, he recently posted, “This is not about money for me; it’s about respect.”
If he is healthy, if he plays well in New England, the respect will come. And, perhaps, so much more, from marketing opportunities to touchdown celebrations to postseason berths.
For Newton, on the precipice of his second act, discarded and bypassed and overlooked, there is but one direction for him to go: up, up and away.
Alain Delaqueriere contributed research.