Cam Newton will have a chance to return to the Panthers. The again-QB-needy franchise will meet with the best passer in its history Thursday.
After having been largely off the radar for two months, Newton secured a Thursday meeting with Matt Rhule and David Tepper, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Alexander. The Panthers just placed Sam Darnold on IR, moving P.J. Walker into the starting slot. This meeting appears to be more than an exploratory conversation. The Panthers hope to re-sign Newton, with Joe Person of The Athletic noting an agreement is near (Twitter links).
This would be quite the full-circle development for a Panthers regime that jettisoned Newton as one of its first orders of business in March 2020. Rhule made the move to release Newton, instead signing Teddy Bridgewater to a more lucrative deal. The Panthers cut bait on that contract a year later, sending Bridgewater to the Broncos and trading for Darnold. Carolina’s current quarterback leads the NFL in interceptions, with 11.
Newton struggled in his Patriots season and ended up being released, with the Pats going with first-rounder Mac Jones. Newton, 32, has battled extensive injury trouble since his dominant 2015 MVP season. Shoulder and foot injuries nagged Newton during his final years in Carolina. The former No. 1 overall pick missed 14 games in 2019, prompting the current Panthers regime to cut bait rather than sign on for a 10th season with Newton at the controls.
Jones was able to get a crucial leg up on Newton in August, when a COVID-19 testing issue sidelined New England’s 2020 starter for five days. The Pats moved on from the three-time Pro Bowler ahead of roster cutdown day, and the 10-year veteran has spent two months back in free agency. The Seahawks spoke with Newton shortly after Russell Wilson‘s injury but stayed the course with Geno Smith. Now vaccinated, Newton could rejoin the Panthers quickly and become an emergency solution for a reeling team.