Cam Newton

Panthers Open To Re-Signing Cam Newton For 2022; Sam Darnold Done For Season?

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters on Wednesday that quarterback Sam Darnold, who is dealing with a fracture of the scapula on his right shoulder, will miss at least four to six weeks. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Carolina is confident that Darnold will actually miss the rest of the season, which is what prompted the club to reunite with Cam Newton earlier this week.

As soon as the Panthers knew that Darnold would likely be sidelined for the remainder of the 2021 campaign, they reviewed their in-house and outside options and determined that Newton was the best choice. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, Rhule then called Newton to determine the former MVP’s interest in rejoining his old team, and Newton was very excited about the prospect.

At that point, the discussions hinged on two factors, one of which was money. Newton, who is still getting paid by the Patriots, was not going to settle for the veteran minimum, which is why the two sides ultimately came together on a $6MM pact (although Newton can earn up to $10MM, it will be difficult for him to reach that maximum).

Just as important was Newton’s desire for “direct communication and accountability.” In other words, if the team has an issue with him, he wants to be told about it directly, just as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did with him in New England. Rhule, GM Scott Fitterer, VP of football operations Steven Drummond — whose relationship with Newton helped get the deal done — and owner David Tepper promised him as much.

When initially asked about the possibility of re-signing Newton in 2022, Fitterer was noncommittal, saying, “we’re not there yet” (Twitter link via David Newton of ESPN.com). However, Schefter says that if Newton plays well for the rest of the season, he would immediately become the favorite to serve as the starting QB next year.

Rapoport, meanwhile, notes that while the team is certainly open to another contract for Newton, Carolina has by no means given up on Darnold. After all, Darnold is owed a fully-guaranteed $18.858MM for the 2022 season, and the Panthers liked what they saw from him in the first three weeks of this year. The club thinks that his shoulder ailment contributed to his poor performance over the last few weeks, and it has no intention of trying to cut ties this offseason.

If Newton plays in this afternoon’s contest against the Cardinals, he will only see a limited number of snaps. As we already knew, P.J. Walker will serve as today’s QB1. But assuming all goes well in practice over the coming days, Newton has a good chance to suit up against Washington and old friend Ron Rivera next week.

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Details On QB Cam Newton’s Contract With Panthers

When Cam Newton rejoined the Panthers this week, we learned that he could collect up to $10MM on his one-year contract. Well, it sounds like Newton will be hard pressed to reach those incentives, with the majority of his bonuses tied to the team’s performance in the postseason.

[RELATED: Panthers Sign QB Cam Newton]

ESPN’s Field Yates has provided (via Twitter) the full details on the QB’s contract with the Panthers. Newton can earn an extra $500K for each playoff win (coupled with playing at least 50 percent of the team’s offensive snaps). Newton can also earn an additional $1.5MM for a Super Bowl win (+ 50% playing time) and another $1MM if he wins Super Bowl MVP.

No disrespect to the Panthers, but there’s no guarantee that they even make the playoffs, much less get a playoff win. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, there are 11 NFC teams with better odds to make the Super Bowl, and there are 23 NFL teams with a better chance of winning the championship. Even if you ignore the Panthers’ odds, there’s still a chance the team goes back to Sam Darnold once he returns from the IR.

In reality, Newton will likely earn the previously reported $4.5MM that is guaranteed plus his per-game roster bonus. In other words, assuming Newton is rostered for the rest of the season and the Panthers either fail to make the playoffs or fail to win a postseason game, then Newton’s really looking at a max contract value of $6MM.

Those per-game roster bonuses are valued at $187.5K, per Yates. Newton’s $4.5MM guaranteed is divided with a $2.25MM signing bonus and a $2.25MM base salary.

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Panthers Sign QB Cam Newton

Cam Newton will return to the Panthers. A Thursday meeting produced a quick contract agreement, one that will lead the former MVP back to Carolina.

The sides agreed on a one-year deal, USA Today’s Josina Anderson tweets, and Newton will do quite well for himself. The Panthers are giving him $4.5MM fully guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, and the veteran passer has a chance to collect up to $10MM. Offset language was present covering $1.5MM in Newton’s most recent Patriots deal, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This led Newton to hold out for more this season, and he landed such a contract from his initial NFL employer.

The Panthers have cycled through multiple starting quarterbacks since cutting Newton in March 2020. They are now down Sam Darnold, who had regressed after a strong start. With Darnold on IR, P.J. Walker is in line to start against the Cardinals in Week 10. By Week 11, the Panthers’ first-string plans are likely to change.

Newton, 32, went through two sets of meetings before committing to rejoin the Panthers. He had previously met with Matt Rhule, who had signed off on his release last offseason, to clear the air, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). A meeting with owner David Tepper, first-year GM Scott Fitterer and VP of football operations Stephen Drummond then commenced. It all led to a reunion, which ends Newton’s latest lengthy free agency stay.

Set to begin his 11th season, Newton is coming off a 15-start slate with the Patriots. That campaign did not go especially well, with Newton throwing just eight touchdown passes. Although the Pats re-signed Newton this offseason, they drafted Mac Jones and decided not to keep both QBs going into the season. This agreement also means the Patriots will add $1.5MM in cap space in 2022 (h/t Patscap, on Twitter). Since the late-August release, Newton spoke with the Seahawks about a deal amid Russell Wilson‘s injury hiatus. No agreement came to pass. Newton is now vaccinated and can rejoin the Panthers immediately.

Rhule will be the third coach Newton has played for as a pro, and the former No. 1 overall pick will be tasked with quickly digesting Joe Brady‘s offense. Newton made three Pro Bowls in his first five seasons, leading the Panthers to three playoff berths during that span. He led Carolina to a 15-1 season in 2015 and spearheaded the Panthers’ run to their second Super Bowl. A rough Newton outing against the Broncos preceded an injury-plagued second half, one that featured the dual-threat talent ranking 29th in QBR cumulatively from 2016-19. A foot injury cost Newton 14 games in 2019. The Panthers then signed Teddy Bridgewater in March 2020, signaling the end of Newton’s first stint.

Bridgewater is now in Denver, following an April trade, and Darnold is out for at least a month. Walker, who was off to a strong start in the XFL before the pandemic ended its second season early, has made one career NFL start — against the Lions last season — and completed 3 of 15 passes in relief of Darnold in Week 7. Newton has 139 starts under his belt. While Walker stands to make a second start this week, Newton will be positioned to move past 140 for his career soon. The Panthers face Washington, run by ex-Newton HC Ron Rivera, in Week 11.

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Panthers To Meet With Cam Newton

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.

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Saints Won’t Consider Cam Newton

We can now rule out two big-name quarterbacks for the Saints. Drew Brees won’t un-retire to replace Jameis Winston, nor will the Saints consider free agent Cam Newton as a potential Jameis Winston replacement, according to a team source who spoke with PFT (Twitter link). 

Newton is available and vaccinated, but the Saints seem to prefer their in-house options. Backup Trevor Siemian was solid in Winston’s stead last night while Taysom Hill could be ready to return from his Week 5 concussion.

As the Panthers’ star QB, Newton did some of his best work against the Saints. However, he finished near the bottom of the league in cumulative QBR from 2016-19 and fell flat with the Pats last year. In 2020, the former MVP threw for just 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns with ten interceptions. On the plus side, he displayed his usual rushing talent, collecting 592 yards and 12 TDs on the ground, plus a receiving touchdown.

The Saints will likely be without Winston and definitely be without Newton on Sunday when they face the Falcons. Depending on the outcome of Bucs-WFT, a win could put the Saints in the NFC South lead.

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Seahawks To Keep Tabs On Cam Newton

The Seahawks will continue to “keep tabs” on Cam Newton, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero hears (Twitter link). However, they’re unlikely to sign him straight away. 

Newton is still collecting $1.5MM from his previous Patriots contract, a sum that is subject to offsets. Newton, understandably, is unwilling to play for free. So, in order to sign Newton, the Seahawks or any other club would have to offer a better deal. That amount would be prorated, but it could still prove to be a barrier.

For now, the Seahawks are willing to roll with Geno Smith and Jake Luton as their quarterbacks until Russell Wilson is ready to return. Star power aside, it’s hard to say whether Newton would represent a clear upgrade over Smith.

Newton finished near the bottom of the league in cumulative QBR from 2016-19 and didn’t impress in 2020. Last year, the former MVP threw for just 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns with ten interceptions. On the plus side, he displayed his usual rushing talent, collecting 592 yards and 12 TDs on the ground, plus a receiving touchdown.

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Seahawks Talk To Cam Newton

The Seahawks have had talks with Cam Newton, according to head coach Pete Carroll (Twitter link via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com). Carroll declined to say whether they’ve discussed terms, but there’s at least some interest in bringing the former MVP to Seattle.

Just so you know, we have talked to him,” Carroll said. “We’re talking to everybody that could help us.

Newton could backstop Geno Smith, the Seahawks’ current starter. For what it’s worth, Newton claims that he would have been willing to sit behind Mac Jones in New England had the Patriots kept him on the Week 1 roster.

The 32-year-old recently announced that he’s been vaccinated for COVID-19, clearing another potential hurdle for interested clubs like the Seahawks. Even though he struggled in 2020 and ranked 29th in cumulative QBR from 2016-19, there’s no denying that he’d be a high-upside pickup at the right price.

The Seahawks are 2-4 following Sunday’s overtime loss to the Steelers. Next up, a Monday night showdown with the Saints.

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Cam Newton Still Eyeing NFL Return

Cam Newton is eager to make his comeback. “Hell yeah, I still want to play football,” the free agent quarterback said in a YouTube video. 

Newton also disclosed that he’s been vaccinated for COVID-19, which may improve his odds of finding a deal. The 32-year-old said he was “absolutely” surprised by the Patriots’ decision to cut him over the summer and felt that he would have stayed on the roster had he not been asked to spend five days away from the team facility. For what it’s worth, Newton said he would have agreed to stay on as Mac Jones‘ backup.

Although Newton has never been an NFL backup, he struggled in 2020 and signed for backup-level money earlier this year. The former MVP ranked 29th in cumulative QBR from 2016-19 as well, so it’s probably QB2-or-bust for Newton, unless an injury leaves a team especially desperate. Meanwhile, no clubs have been linked to Newton over the past six weeks.

The former No. 1 overall pick tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020 and missed one start. Still, he logged his number of starts since the 2017 season. After injuries cut his 2018 and ’19 seasons short, Newton showed he could stay healthy.

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Cam Newton Off Backup QB Radar?

For the first time in 11 years, an NFL season began without Cam Newton on a roster. His free agent status might not change soon, either.

No team has given serious consideration to adding Newton as a backup, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The 10-year veteran quarterback confirmed Friday he is not considering retirement, but it might take an injury to bring about a Newton re-emergence.

Newton, 32, said he was “absolutely” surprised the Patriots cut him but said the team would have made the same decision had he not been forced to spend five days away from New England’s facility due to what the organization called a COVID-19-related misunderstanding. Rather than give the higher-profile passer their backup gig, the Pats released Newton, who said Friday he would have agreed to stay on as Mac Jones‘ backup.

If they would have asked me, ‘Cam, we’re going to give the team to Mac, you’re going to be second string; we expect you to be everything and some to guide him throughout this tenure,’ I would have said, ‘Absolutely,’” Newton said during a YouTube Live video, via ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. “But listen, the truth of the matter is this: [Jones] would have been uncomfortable.

“… Mac Jones didn’t beat me out. But I would have been a distraction. If they would have gave him the starting role, they knew the perception that it would have had if the success didn’t come.”

Although Newton has never been an NFL backup, he struggled in 2020 and signed for backup-level money earlier this year. The former MVP ranked 29th in cumulative QBR from 2016-19 as well. The Cowboys and Washington said last week they were not interested in Newton, and no team has been linked to the former Pro Bowler yet.

Newton is also unvaccinated, providing another complication for any team interested in adding him as a backup. While NFL protocols for unvaccinated players meant a five-day period away from the Pats, Newton explained his side of the misunderstanding that thrust Jones into first-team practice work late last month. Newton’s out-of-town medical appointment was for a second opinion on the Lisfranc injury that ended his 2019 season and required surgery in December of that year.

This had nothing to do with no vaccination. They gave me clearance to go. I’m owed a second opinion. This was the last time I felt that I was going to have an opportunity to get a second opinion,” Newton said of the foot issue. “Not to say the personnel with the Patriots wasn’t coherent to telling me everything I needed to know, but having four eyes on it is better than having two eyes on it, in my opinion. It wasn’t that I was having any issues or pain. I just wanted to do a checkup with the person who, in essence, diagnosed me with the Lisfranc. I felt obligated to kind of check back in with a six-month review.

I crossed all the lines; I checked all the boxes; I dotted all my ‘I’s,’ and then to find out that I had to sit out, that’s when I kind of felt like bamboozled because ‘Y’all told me to go.’ It wasn’t like [the Patriots said], ‘Cam, you know if you go, you’re taking it on your risk.”

Regardless of how Newton’s Pats tenure wrapped, he has seen his stock drop considerably in recent years. The former Heisman winner is running out of time to get his career back on track. But in confirming retirement was not on the table, Newton will surely surface when quarterback injuries occur this season.

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Cam Newton Planning Announcement Friday, Isn’t Retiring

Cam Newton is apparently planning some sort of big announcement later this week, but don’t expect him to hang up his cleats. In a video posted to Instagram, the free agent quarterback made a cryptic tease.

Newton said he’d have a video posting this Friday, in which “I have a lot of things that I need to get off my chest.” He specifically made a point to note that he isn’t walking away from the game. “This is not a retirement speech, and I have a lot of football still in me,” he says in the brief video.

Presumably, Newton is planning to reveal some details about what led to his sudden and surprising release from the Patriots last week. New England elected to make rookie Mac Jones their starter, showing Newton to the exit. There was speculation that Newton’s vaccination status may have had something to do with his release, so perhaps he’s looking to clear the air on that.

Since he sounds pretty firm on his intention to play in the NFL again, don’t expect him to say anything too explosive that will burn bridges. Since his release we haven’t heard of much known interest, only that neither the Cowboys nor Washington are likely to pursue the former MVP.

No matter what, his Friday reveal should be entertaining if nothing else…

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