Cam Newton is recovering from foot surgery and has one season remaining on his Panthers contract. Team owner David Tepper did not halt speculation that the former MVP will be traded.
While the second-year owner obviously did not indicate Newton would not be part of the 2020 Panthers, the prospect of the 30-year-old quarterback being dealt did not decrease after Matt Rhule‘s introductory presser.
“Every player that buys into this, the more they buy into this, the more things can work,” Tepper said. “And that’s what we’re going to need here, is buy-in from people, OK? If we can get that kind of buy in sooner rather than later, no matter what the personnel is. We will try to use our personnel to the best possible [advantage], whoever that personnel is.”
Rhule stopped short of saying he wanted Cam Newton back but noted (via ESPN’s David Newton) he “certainly looks forward” to working with the nine-year veteran. The former Temple and Baylor HC did not articulate a precise course of action for the Panthers at the quarterback position, per GM Marty Hurney.
“That’s something that we are going to have to sit down and talk about the whole time,” Hurney said. “But, you know, we’ve got a guy that was MVP of the NFL. [Rhule] knows that. This is all going to be a process. He’s going to have to get to know these guys and the roster.”
After an initial surge, the Panthers cratered without Newton this season. But losing their final eight games puts the Panthers in the No. 7 spot. That may be in range to nab a quarterback. However, the Dolphins and Chargers at Nos. 5-6 are prime landing spots for Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert. Carolina moving Newton would supply the franchise with more draft capital for a potential trade-up while also running the risk of thrusting a team with several accomplished veterans into quarterback no man’s land.
Newton is attached to a manageable $18.6MM salary next season. Depending on how/when he recovers from his foot procedure, the former Heisman winner’s status with Carolina will be one of the offseason’s defining storylines.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.