Cam Newton has trended downward since his Super Bowl appearance in 2016, and his recent injury causes people to wonder if he’ll ever get out of his slump. Although Newton has stayed relatively healthy prior to this year — only missing five games in his first eight seasons — his dwindling performance is concerning. Are Newton’s days as an NFL quarterback numbered?
Cam Newton’s peak
Newton had some struggles entering the NFL. His first season, the Auburn University alum threw 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Unfortunately, his 4,051 throwing yards are still a career-high and his 60% completion rate is third in his career.
Newton saw a steady increase in both wins and efficiency over the next two seasons. Although the 2014 season saw some regression, his 2015 campaign was the best of his career. Not only did Newton throw 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he also had nearly 3,900 yards in the process.
The Atlanta native rushed for an additional 10 touchdowns — the second-most in his career after his rookie season — and the team made it to the Super Bowl, only to lose. Newton has failed to relive those days, however, and he may never get the chance.
Newton’s Lisfranc injury
Newton hurt his foot during a preseason game against Tampa Bay. Although there’s still a lot of time left for him to rehabilitate, many believe this season is lost for Newton. The Lisfranc joint is where the long bones that connect to the toes meet with the foot’s arch. This means that if there is an injury, it is tough for somebody to come back until it is fully healed.
A mobile quarterback like Newton cannot risk long-term damage by straining an already dangerous injury. Even the slightest bit of weight on his foot can be an agonizing feat, and an improperly treated Lisfranc injury can lead to permanent damage.
Shoulder problems for Cam Newton
Although Newton’s mobility has always been a strength, it does not mean his arm was ever a problem. The 30-year-old had one of the strongest arms in his prime, and a shoulder injury can be disastrous for a quarterback.
Newton played through a shoulder injury for half the 2018 season, and his January surgery kept him from throwing the ball for nearly six months. This shoulder injury combined with his foot injury is a terrible combination for a quarterback like Newton.
His injury situation had held him out of many practices in the preseason. When he was able to throw his accuracy just was not there. Now, it may be hard for Newton to return to his old self.
Is Newton wearing down?
Newton has often been known as a relentless quarterback. Whether throwing the Hail Mary or rushing in for the clutch touchdown, he always does what he believes is best for the Panthers.
With so much working against him, however, Newton may not be able to play the way he once did. In two games before leaving with his foot injury, Newton threw no touchdowns and an interception with 572 yards to add.
The lack of practice could be a reason for this, too, but one can’t help but wonder if Newton will go the way of Andrew Luck rather than Tom Brady or Drew Brees. Until he can prove that he can return healthy, the question will remain on our minds.