Panthers Are Signing Ryan Tannehill To Replace Cam Newton?
Are the Panthers signing Ryan Tannehill to replace Cam Newton?
Carolina has been in the midst of a rebuild for months now. It began with the firing of then-head coach Ron Rivera.
It continued with the hiring of former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule and ex-LSU offensive guru Joe Brady.
The retirement of linebacker Luke Kuechly and the booting out of tight end Greg Olsen.
For months, speculation ran rampant that the next guy to go would be Newton.
It stemmed from a report from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport many months ago saying that Panthers brass wanted to wait until the former league MVP healed up and then trade him.
Interestingly enough, a week ago, that seemingly changed.
In a report that seemingly contradicted his earlier preview of the future, Rapoport revealed that Rhule was considering moving forward with Newton as his quarterback.
Surely enough, Rhule more or less confirmed that in a session with the media.
“I know there will be a lot of questions about Cam (Newton),” he said.
“My son keeps calling me asking me questions, so I figured I’d address that right off the bat.
“From my perspective, I’m unbelievably excited to get to work with Cam. Coming from the outside, you kind of know as a fan, but just on a personal note getting to know him, he is a diligent guy.
“He’s working so hard both in Atlanta and in Carolina to get himself healthy. You meet him, he’s this massive man, impressive man, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him. I’ve enjoyed getting to sit down in the cafeteria when he comes by, sit down in my office,” he continued.
“I think he’s doing a great job. For me, the way he balances being a great father, the way he balances being a great quarterback, and the things he’s done in the community are really, really important.
“I want to make sure I say that. I’m excited to get him healthy. Obviously, that’s the number one goal for us. He’s doing a great job of doing his part. We have to make sure we’re doing our part as we try to get him healthy for the 2020 season.”
All that being said, Rhule still refused to commit to Newton as the starter heading into next year.
“I don’t think I’m going to say anybody’s a starter yet,” he said.
“Just in the first year I think it’s really important for me as I go in there that I want to create a culture of competition. I want to create a culture where nothing is promised to anybody.
“That being said, I don’t think that has anything to do with Cam, that just has to do with overall philosophy. When it comes to Cam, Cam’s a special player.
“Really the only thing that matters right now is getting him healthy. But I want to make sure I say I’m excited to have him here. I want him to be here. I want to coach him.”
While Rhule’s statement seems like a pretty strong endorsement for keeping Newton on the roster, not everyone is buying it.
Recently, Mike Freeman of the Bleacher Report suggested that he had doubts regarding whether Rhule would really want to keep Newton on the roster.
“That may end up being the case, but teams I speak to don’t buy it,” he said.
“They believe the Panthers are going to pursue a QB in free agency, and the name I keep hearing is Ryan Tannehill. The Panthers, goes the thinking around the league, are playing a nice game of poker and aren’t close to settling on Newton.”
Tannehill would certainly be an interesting choice.
The 31-year-old is coming off a year where he revived a seemingly dead Tennessee Titans team and led them all the way to the NFC Championship Game, before eventually falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Tannehill is obviously no Patrick Mahomes, but he does a decent, Jimmy Garoppolo-like job of managing the offense while running back Derrick Henry does the heavy lifting.
Is he a significant upgrade over someone like Newton? If Newton continues to be perpetually injured – yes. If he gets healthy? It is hard to say.
The most likely scenario, if the Panthers do sign Tannehill, is that they will likely also select a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. From there, Tannehill would like serve as a bridge from the present to the future. All things considered, that is probably the role he is best-suited to play at this stage of his career.