Panthers Reportedly Expected to Retain Cam Newton As Starting QB


For at least another season, it appears that Cam Newton will be the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers.

Tuesday morning, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Panthers are "moving forward with Newton as their starting quarterback." He also added that even if the Panthers wanted to trade Newton, it would be hard to do so until the foot injury that cost him much of the 2019 season is completely healed, a process that may not be completed for "several months."

Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic had previously reported that the Panthers expect Newton to pass his phsyical in March. Simply passing a physical may not be enough to make a team comfortable with the idea of trading for Newton, though.

Newton, who will turn 31 in May, played in just two games in 2019 before being shut down as he attempted to completely heal a foot injury that he initially suffered in the preseason. Ultimately, he underwent season-ending surgery on his left foot in December in hopes of correcting a Lisfranc injury.

Frankly, it's unclear what Newton is even when healthy at this stage of his career. Since the start of the 2018 season, the Panthers are just 6-10 in games that Newton has started. Of course, any uncertainty that the Panthers may have about how much Newton has left probably extends to potential suitors, making it hard for another organization to fully commit to trading for Newton and building their organization around him.

Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, has one year remaining on his contract, and he's set to have a $21.1 million cap hit, an amount that would be a bargain if he's healthy. It's unclear if the organization plans to discuss a new deal with Newton, who they selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

If the Panthers don't change course and do indeed plan to have Newton under center in 2020, it would have a rather drastic impact on the 2020 NFL Draft. The Panthers, who are slated to have the No. 7 overall pick ahead of Matt Rhule's first season as head coach, now feel unlikely to trade up for or select a quarterback with their first overall pick. Instead, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown become two possible selections. There's also a case to be made for the Panthers going all in on skill positions and selecting one of the top two wide receivers - Alabama's Jerry Jeudy or Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. For much of his career, Newton hasn't been surrounded by strong offensive weapons.

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