Since the end of the 2019 season, there has remained plenty of chatter around star quarterback Cam Newton‘s long-term future with the Carolina Panthers. His struggles with injuries have played a factor in the team potentially leaning towards moving on from him this offseason. Panthers’ owner David Tepper has also made some intriguing comments that have furthered fueled that the franchise may move off their longtime starting quarterback. With all that in mind, the Panthers may have made up their mind regarding Newton’s fate for at least the 2020 season.
Cam Newton’s rocky road
The last two seasons have been nothing short of a disappointment for the Panthers as they have failed to reach the playoffs in each campaign.
That frustration was further extenuated with Newton‘s struggles with injuries. He has missed the final two games of the 2018 season due to a shoulder injury that eventually required offseason surgery. That was followed up this past year with him aggravating a preseason foot injury in Week 2 action that forced him to miss the final 14 games of the regular season.
His absence on the field, along with his contract situation being in the final year of his five-year, $103.8 million deal, has created the notion that he could be on his way out. What also piled on that building vibe were Tepper’s comments last month as he stated that Newton’s health was still a significant concern for the team moving forward.
All of that painted the picture that Carolina could seriously explore their options in moving on from their Pro Bowl quarterback. There may have finally been some clarity on that front.
Panthers decide on Cam Newton’s future
All of the momentum appears to be building towards Newton’s departure at some point this offseason. The chatter has continued to become quite dicey on what the Panthers want to do with their oft-injured star quarterback.
However, the proverbial brakes can be pumped in that regard as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the team at this juncture is moving forward with Newton under center. Much can change, but the 30-year-old has continued to make progress in his recovery from his foot surgery.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the franchise can use the 2020 season as the make-or-break year for Newton. It’s his chance to prove that he can stay healthy and play at a high level at this point in his career.
There will be considerable attention directed on his performance on the field, but the overriding factor will be his durability. For the first time in Newton’s career, he is essentially playing for his starting job in Carolina beyond just next season.
Will the Panthers stay committed to Cam Newton?
Throughout his first nine years, the Panthers have fully embraced Newton as the face of the franchise
He has helped lead the franchise to great heights, which includes a Super Bowl appearance and three NFC South division titles, but he has struggled to stay on the field as of late. Newton is still an extremely talented quarterback, but his issues with health have piled up over the last two seasons.
That, combined with the team’s lack of success with their last playoff appearance being back in 2017, could shift the franchise in another direction under center. It all hinges on him staying healthy as the new management under Tepper has reached their limit with his situation.
Carolina looks to be headed towards a rebuild with a new head coach in Matt Rhule and has seen a pair of prominent players depart in Greg Olsen and Luke Kuechly. There is more than enough comfort in going the rebuild route with their current group. It’s all on Newton’s shoulders to demonstrate that he still has what it takes on the field to lead the team to success.