Cam Newton

David Tepper Non-Committal On Cam Newton’s Panthers Future

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.

NFC South Notes: Winston, Brown, Olsen

Buccaneers decision makers have faced one looming question at the quarterback position this season: Is Jameis Winston their franchise quarterback? Jenna Laine of ESPN chronicles the situation and details the organization’s biggest upcoming off-season decisions. Per Laine, members of the Tampa Bay organization have gone back and fourth on their belief in Winston and just a few weeks ago, some brass were “absolutely ready to be done with Winston,” however, the enigmatic quarterback has led the Bucs on a four-game winning streak and has changed some opinions.

While Winston’s play helped make his case, it also limited Tampa’s options at finding a replacement. Top quarterback prospects Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are unlikely to be attainable for the Bucs in the draft now that they are unlikely to have a top-15 pick. There are a number of potential free agent options at the position, but Winston’s pedigree and relative youth likely means he’ll be back in Tampa.

Here’s some other notes from around the NFC South:

  • Wide receiver Antonio Brown was not alone when he arrived in New Orleans for his workout with the Saints this week, according to Mike Garafolo on Good Morning Football. The four-time all-pro was accompanied by his entourage and a camera crew during the process. Brown has been mired in controversy surrounding his locker room antics in Pittsburgh, his strange decisions with the Raiders, and multiple allegations of sexual and behavioral misconduct that led to his release from the Patriots. No one denies his talent, but it remains unlikely any team will sign him this season.
  • While the future of quarterback Cam Newton will be the biggest offseason story in Carolina, longtime Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will be deciding between retiring or returning next season. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the former may impact the latter. Newton and Olsen made one of the best quarterback-tight end combinations from 2014-16 and Yates believes Olsen is less likely to walk away from another chance to play with Newton.

NFC South Notes: Cam, Bucs, Saints

Cam Newton has had surgery to repair a lisfranc injury on his left foot, and the former MVP has been resting in Atlanta after what interim head coach Perry Fewell called “successful surgery” Monday, relays ESPN’s David Newton. Cam would also confirm this himself via his Instagram page on Thursday. There is currently no timeline for his recovery.

Last week, it was reported that Newton would have foot surgery since he was not going to return to the team this year. Now that he has had the procedure done, Newton will be out of action for at least two months, but should certainly be ready to go once the offseason workouts begin.

Despite reports indicating that the Panthers will indeed shop Newton during the offseason, last month, Newton’s quotes made it seem like he wanted to remain with the only organization he has ever known when discussing his future.

“Charlotte is home,” Newton said. “Charlotte is a place I know people know me. They’re not just assuming. They know how I am. They know my energy. They know what I like and what I don’t like. For me to have that type of presence, it just reminds me that … it’s right.”

The former No. 1 overall pick is owed $18.6 million in 2020. He will be a free agent in 2021 barring a contract extension.

Let’s check out some more developments around the NFC South:

  • Despite being a “cut candidate”The Athletic’s Greg Auman opines that he would be very surprised if Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones was not part of their future. The former second-round draft pick has had an up and down season for the Bucs this year, rushing for 518 yards and five touchdowns as of this morning. He also states that running back Dare Ogunbowale is inexpensive and serves multiple roles, and that there is a strong chance he’s back to at least compete for the same jobs, while impending free agent running back to be Peyton Barber could sign elsewhere or come back on a modest deal.
  • ESPN’s Mike Triplett relays that Sean Payton said the Saints expect tight end Jared Cook to play and be ready Monday night when they take on the Colts in New Orleans. Cook returned to a full practice Friday after suffering a concussion last week against the 49ers. Cook has had a nice year for the Saints thus far and has proven to be a reliable receiving option for Drew Brees. On the season, Cook has 34 receptions for 523 yards and six touchdowns, and is known to be very difficult to defend in the end zone due to his massive frame.
  • Saints’ cornerback Marcus Williams was fined for his costly facemask penalty on 49ers tight end George Kittle last week. Williams’ penalty set up Robbie Gould’s 30-yard field goal as time expired in the 49ers’ 48-46 victory over the Saints last week. San Francisco cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon and New Orleans safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson were also fined after being penalized in that game. Witherspoon’s hit on Jared Cook knocked him out of the game with a concussion, and he was penalized for an unnecessary hit to the neck and head area.

 

Panthers Notes: Newton, HC Candidates, Bradberry

Panthers QB Cam Newton will undergo foot surgery, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, Newton is expected to be fully ready and able by March. Rapoport says Carolina has not ruled out retaining Newton — not that the team would publicly say anything different — but the expectation remains that the Panthers will look to trade the former No. 1 overall pick,

The QB market may be unusually robust in 2020, and Newton may be the most desirable piece. The Panthers will not give Newton away, but if they “get a large deal to make it worth their while,” they will pull the trigger.

Now for more out of Charlotte:

  • Of course, what the Panthers do with Newton may depend on who they hire as their permanent head coach. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reiterates his view that the Panthers will seek an offensive-minded or QB-driven coach, and what that person thinks of Newton, Kyle Allen, and Will Grier could impact the club’s offseason plans in a big way.
  • In the same piece linked above, Rapoport suggests that owner David Tepper will of course be on the lookout for a top-flight coordinator and someone who is unafraid to embrace analytics, but he suggests that Tepper’s top priority will be a strong manager of people. RapSheet names ex-Packers coach Mike McCarthy, 49ers DC Robert Saleh, and Ravens OC Greg Roman as just a few of the possibilities.
  • Even if the Panthers retain GM Marty Hurney — which is not a guarantee — Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says Tepper, the former minority owner of the Steelers, could look to bring familiar faces from Pittsburgh to Carolina. Tepper plans to name an assistant general manager to focus on pro personnel evaluation and a vice president of football operations, and sources say he could be eyeing Steelers GM Kevin Colbert — whose contract is up at the end of the season — and/or vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan.
  • The Panthers have 28 players eligible for free agency this offseason, and Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic examines the decisions that the team will have to make with respect to a few of those players. The club just signed LB Shaq Thompson to a four-year extension, and Rodrigue’s source says the Panthers have made CB James Bradberry their next top priority.

Latest On Panthers’ Plans, Ron Rivera

Some personnel executives around the league and on the NFL periphery believed David Tepper would make changes after last season, and Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson notes GM candidates were viewing the Panthers as a job that would be open earlier this year. Tepper opted against firing Ron Rivera and second-stint GM Marty Hurney after last season but was discussing over the summer plans to revamp the organization, beefing up its analytics commitment, Robinson adds. Tepper confirmed Tuesday he plans to hire an assistant GM, and Robinson adds the second-year owner is expected to bring in multiple high-ranking execs to contribute to the operation. In the wake of Rivera’s ouster, Hurney’s future with the team is obviously uncertain. New scouts are expected to be brought aboard soon as well, though Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes no scouts or execs were fired along with Rivera on Tuesday.

Here is the latest out of Carolina, coming off the firing of a two-time coach of the year.

  • Having been run by defensive coaches throughout their 25-year history — from Dom Capers to George Seifert to John Fox to Rivera — the Panthers are expected to pursue an offensive-minded leader, David Newton of ESPN.com writes. Tepper may not be leaning toward hiring a college coach. Although he’s not dead-set against it, Newton adds the tougher transition for those coaches points to Tepper leaning in another direction. The Panthers are expected to pursue a younger coach who will support analytics more than Rivera did, per Newton. That’s certainly not dissimilar to how most of the HC-needy teams proceeded during this year’s hiring period.
  • Rivera broke the news to the coaching staff he had been fired, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. Although Tepper praised Norv Turner and his son Scott, it’s certainly possible the organization moves on from the father-son tandem after their two-year run in Charlotte. Norv Turner will move from Carolina’s offensive coordinator to special assistant to the head coach, with Scott set for a four-game run as the team’s OC.
  • The most famous player Rivera coached expressed his support for the only NFL HC he’s known (Twitter link). Cam Newton, who will undergo surgery to repair his foot injury, is not certain to be back with the Panthers in 2020. One year remains on his contract.
  • Rivera revealed he wants to stay in coaching. The former Bears linebacker has been on an NFL sideline in each season since 1997.

Panthers’ Cam Newton To Undergo Surgery

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will undergo foot surgery, according to Tiffany Blackmon of NFL.com (on Twitter). The operation will completely rule Newton out for the remainder of the year, though he was unlikely to return from injured reserve even before the news. 

[RELATED: Panthers Fire Ron Rivera]

The surgery to repair his Lisfranc injury has a recovery time table of 8-10 weeks, typically. At worst, it’ll take three months for Newton to bounce back.

In theory, Newton could have held off on surgery to leave the door open for a playoff return. But, at 5-7, the Panthers have less than a 1% chance of reaching the postseason. Kyle Allen figures to handle starting duties the rest of the way, with serious question marks about what the Panthers will do under center in 2020.

With $18.6MM owed to him in 2020, plus a $2MM option bonus, Newton seems unlikely to return. That’s particularly true after Tuesday’s firing of head coach Ron Rivera – the Panthers seem prepared to start fresh.

Meanwhile, Allen is making just $495K this year and will be an exclusive rights free agent in 2020 and 2021. After that, he’ll be an RFA for 2022. The Panthers could extend Allen at any time, or leave things as-is and have a starting quarterback at a dirt cheap rate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Kaepernick, 49ers, Panthers

The only team connected to Colin Kaepernick since his 49ers run ended, the Seahawks had a representative in Atlanta for the free agent quarterback’s workout Saturday. However, they were one of the many teams who opted not to trek from the Falcons’ Flowery Branch, Ga., facility to Riverdale. Roughly an hour separates these Atlanta-area locales, and 18 teams on hand for the would-be showcase at the NFL facility did not travel to the high school where the workout ended up occurring.

Disappointed,” Pete Carroll said of the Seahawks missing the workout, via Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio 950 KJR (via Pro Football Talk). “We had planned to be at that workout. It got changed around, and we couldn’t hang with it. Unfortunately, we sent somebody, but we couldn’t stay with the changes that happened. We missed it. We were real curious. I was real curious to see how the workout went. Just competing as always, you know.”

While Carroll said he has seen some of the workout, no team has yet expressed interest in the 32-year-old passer. Kaepernick’s agent is not optimistic a deal will materialize. The Seahawks met with Kaepernick in 2017 but cancelled a 2018 summit.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • In a state-of-the-union-style address, Panthers owner David Tepper asked that no Ron Rivera– or Marty Hurney-related questions be asked. The second-year owner said multiple times this week he will not accept mediocrity, via Joseph Person of The Athletic (subscription required). Carolina made the playoffs four times from 2013-17 but is 12-14 since. Tepper overhauled the Panthers’ business operations since taking over and considered making major football-ops changes after last season. Rivera is signed through the 2020 season. With Hurney also rehired as GMbefore Tepper took over, it is safe to assume both decision-makers’ jobs will be on the line over the season’s final six weeks.
  • Tepper did discuss Cam Newton‘s status, indicating the quarterback’s foot injury would be factored into the overall evaluation of the team and that no decision will be made on Newton until he is healthy again. With that potentially being months away, teams interested in trading for the former MVP may have to adjust their offseason blueprints. Tepper added that ideally Newton would be back and lead the Panthers to another Super Bowl but did not guarantee the 30-year-old passer would return.
  • The 49ers‘ retooled roster has restored the franchise as an NFC contender after five years off the radar. The team should not be expected to be a major player in 2020 free agency, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required). However, the one exception would be at receiver, Barrows adds. Kyle Shanahan opted against adding a big-ticket receiver in 2018 or ’19, after 2017’s failed Pierre Garcon move. But the team traded for Emmanuel Sanders this year to address a key need. Sanders is a free agent at season’s end. The 2020 UFA receiver class as of now includes Amari Cooper, A.J. Green, Robby Anderson and Josh Gordon. But with Cooper and Green candidates to stay in their respective cities, this receiver class could be thin.
  • On the subject of NFC receiver situations, Cowboys wideout Noah Brown will not play this season. Stashed on Dallas’ PUP list after a June knee surgery, Brown recently underwent another procedure, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes. The 2017 seventh-round pick played in 21 Cowboys games between 2017-18. He is expected to be ready for the team’s offseason program.

Cam Newton Considering Surgery

Ever since Panthers QB Cam Newton was forced to the sidelines with a Lisfranc injury after his team’s Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers, we heard that the star signal-caller would not undergo surgery. However, now that he has been placed on IR, that could change.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Newton is indeed considering surgery to repair the injury, and the procedure could take place within the next two weeks. The maximum recovery period is three months, so Newton would be healed in plenty of time for the Panthers to fully consider all of their options with respect to their former No. 1 overall pick.

Rapoport says that a trade is the most likely outcome. Newton is due $18.6MM plus a $2MM option bonus in 2020, so if he is healthy, his contract is movable. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that there will indeed be a trade market for Newton should Carolina choose to go that route, and La Canfora’s sources suggest that the Panthers could net a first-round pick for the 2015 MVP, or at least several early Day 2 selections.

Meanwhile, Kyle Allen, who has performed so admirably in Newton’s absence, has an interesting contract situation. Because Allen spent most of 2018 on the practice squad, he was cut off his rookie contract, which means he can receive an extension this offseason (a year earlier than most other players who entered the league in 2018). If the Panthers don’t choose to extend him — and if Allen doesn’t force the issue — they will be able to keep him under club control as an exclusive rights free agent in 2020 and 2021 and then as a restricted free agent in 2022.

La Canfora says team owner David Tepper fully appreciates the benefits of having a starting QB on an entry-level contract, so while the jury is still out on Allen, it will be interesting to see whether the club pursues a team-friendly extension after this season. That certainly sounds like a possibility, though Allen’s performance throughout the remainder of 2019 will obviously go a long way towards determining his future in Carolina.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Place Cam Newton On IR

The Panthers announced that they have placed Cam Newton on injured reserve. The quarterback could theoretically return in January, but in all likelihood, his season is over. 

For the past seven weeks, Cam has diligently followed a program of rest and rehab and still is experiencing pain in his foot,” general manager Marty Hurney said. “He saw two foot specialists last week who agreed that he should continue that path prescribed by the team’s medical staff, and that it likely will take significant time for the injury to fully heal.

We have said all along that it is impossible to put a timetable on this injury. Nobody is more frustrated with that fact than Cam. He’s one of the fiercest competitors I’ve been around during my 20-plus years in the League. At this time, we have decided that the best decision to reach the goal of bringing the foot back to 100 percent is to place Cam on injured reserve.”

Before 2018, Newton missed only three starts in seven years. But, last year, things changed drastically, starting with a shoulder injury that required surgery. This year, he’s been hampered by a mid-foot sprain that won’t go away.

In his two games this year, Newton completed 50-of-89 passes for 572 yards and zero touchdown passes with one interception. Meanwhile, he’s due $19.1MM (non-guaranteed) with a $21.1MM cap number in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers May Place Cam Newton On IR

NOV. 3: Dr. Anderson did not recommend surgery for Newton, as Rapoport (video link) and David Newton of ESPN.com report. That’s obviously good news, but there is still no timetable for Newton’s return, and Rapoport says the Panthers may end up putting their star QB on IR.

NOV. 1: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton isn’t recovering from his sprained foot as quickly as he hoped (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Newton will visit Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Friday to learn more about his situation and figure out why his condition hasn’t improved. 

At this point, playing football is a long way off, Rapoport hears. So far, Newton hasn’t been able to do much more than basic rehab for his injury.

Newton’s pain and limited mobility was apparent to anyone watching him play this season. His frustrations have been apparent, as well. When Newton took to YouTube in late September to discuss his injury, he admitted that he rushed himself back too soon in order to play in the 2019 season opener.

“I’ve decided I will take time away from the game,” Newton said. “This is me being the bigger person and being real with myself and saying, ‘Look, what’s the ultimate goal you’re trying to accomplish? Win the Super Bowl. OK, if you want to win the Super Bowl, this is the step you’ve got to take.’

“It could very well be a week. Or two weeks. It could be three weeks, it could be four weeks, it could be six weeks. But I have to understand and know if it takes that time, I trust in this team that they will — we will — still be in a great situation by the time I get back.”

Meanwhile, fill-in Kyle Allen has done quite well, for the most part. Before his rocky outing against the 49ers, Allen completed 65.6% of his passes with a 7-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in four starts. He’ll get start No. 6 this week against the Titans on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.