The 2019 season is finally in the books; attention has now shifted towards the offseason with plenty of prominent storylines to follow. Among those is star quarterback Cam Newton, who is entering a shaky time with the Carolina Panthers with significant questions about whether he has played his last game with the franchise. With that in mind, Newton has brought some clarity to the situation on at least his end of things with what he hopes transpires moving forward.
Cam Newton’s disappointing 2019 season
The Panthers entered the 2019 campaign with hopes of taking some significant steps forward towards being in the playoff picture. However, it was much more of the same as Newton was hampered once again by injuries.
A foot injury that arose in the third preseason game flared up in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton was indefinitely sidelined by the ailment that didn’t progress in his recovery, eventually needing surgery that prematurely ended his season.
It marked the second straight year that saw it cut short due to injury. That has placed some significant amount of questions around his long-term future with the team as he’s set to enter the final year of his five-year, $103.8 million deal. What has made things more intriguing is that there is just a $2 million dead cap hit for the 2020 team salary if the front office decides to trade or cut him.
The latter is quite unlikely, but the possibility is certainly there for the Panthers to move in another direction from Newton after nine seasons. It has an uncertain time in his career that he has cleared up the air.
Cam Newton wants to stay with Panthers
Through the last few months, it has been awfully quiet from Newton’s camp about his standing with the Panthers.
That had put forth much speculation that he could potentially be on the move this offseason. However, former league MVP has brought an end to that chatter as he voiced last week that he doesn’t want to leave the Panthers and that he had those same reassuring conversations throughout the organization.
‘I’ve heard it all. ‘They’re going to trade Cam; Cam’s going to get released.’ This that and the third. And yet, through it all, I was able to have those same kind of questions with the owner, the GM, and newest head coach Matt Rhule, and I’m excited. I’m excited. I never once gave the thought that I didn’t want to be in Carolina. I do want to be in Carolina. Carolina is a place that I call home, and we still have unfinished business to take care of there.”
It has been a tough stretch in Newton’s career over the last two seasons, but he’s still fully committed to leading the charge in Charlotte. That appears to be a shared sentiment throughout the organization, at least through the 2020 campaign.
That should quiet down that lingering talk with the focus being on building a team around him and star running back Christian McCaffrey in the first year under head coach Matt Rhule.
Panthers’ fresh start in 2020 season
The Panthers may be coming off another disappointing season, falling well short of the playoffs. However, the team has made some significant changes over the last several weeks that has seen them hire Rhule as their next head coach.
Although there are questions about Newton’s ability, it’s a chance to see if he can excel in the new offensive scheme. The Panthers are in a spot where they don’t have to make a decision now on their Pro Bowl quarterback as it’s an opportunity to see if he can lead the team to success.
Newton is in the final year of his deal, while Carolina can either move on from him if things don’t work out or ink him to a new extension due to his strong desire to remain with the franchise. It’s a win-win situation for the Panthers that time will only tell how this situation unfolds.