Panthers Make Surprising Cam Newton Decision For 2020
The Panthers made a surprising Cam Newton decision for 2020.
If the former league MVP gets healthy, it appears the organization will trade him to another team.
Late last year Carolina brass made the bold decision to fire head coach Ron Rivera. The move was seen as a turning point for a group that had been trending downward ever since making the Super Bowl in 2016.
With the arrival of former Baylor coach Matt Rhule in Rivera’s place, the immediate question most had was what it would mean for quarterback situation.
Newton spent the majority of last year on the sidelines dealing with a Lisfranc injury. Over the past three years, various ailments have been a persistent issue for the former league MVP.
When Rhule was announced as Carolina’s new head coach, he expressed serious praise for Newton’s career and insisted that he would explore all his options. That said, he refused to concretely say that Newton would be his starter going forward.
Recently, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport did an appearance on Damon Amendolara’s CBS Sports show and suggested that a Newton trade was sort of inevitable.
— Damon Amendolara (@DAonCBS) January 15, 2020
“If Cam Newton is in his prime and healthy, and without a contract situation hanging over his head, he could fit into any offense,” Rapoport said.
“My understanding is that the Panthers will look to [move] Cam Newton when he is healthy.”
The idea right now is that Newton should recover some time around March. If that ends up coming to fruition, Carolina will likely immediately begin looking for trade partners.
“We don’t know for sure when he’s going to be healthy,” Rapoport continued.
“He had surgery with hopes of being healthy in March, so that is the goal, so I would expect him to be healthy in March, right around there, and for them to seek a trade with him regardless.”
The other thing that complicates this situation is Newton’s contract. Newton’s deal for 2020 is not a great one, but the Panthers are unlikely to give him an extension at this stage.
“Remember, Cam Newton is on the Panthers next year,” Rapoport continued.
“He’s not going to want to go out there with no guaranteed money on a greatly undervalued deal.
“Because Cam Newton, when he’s healthy, is worth a lot more than the $18 million he’s going to be paid.
“So, he would want a new contract, I have a hard time imagining the Panthers with a completely new regime would re-up, so to me, all signs point to him being traded regardless of the offensive scheme, and I think the Panthers will start new, probably as they should.”
The other big issue facing the Panthers is that they do not have a surefire replacement for Newton. Kyle Allen started last season off hot and then cooled significantly. Will Grier is unproven and will likely need time to adjust to Rhule.
Carolina has the No. 7 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but it is unclear if the organization really wants to use it on another quarterback.
Last season Carolina went 5-11 and failed to make the postseason. It remains to be seen if Rhule will be able to turn things around in 2020.