Yet another season for Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton has been shelved for the rest of the 2019 campaign due to a nagging Lisfranc injury to his foot. That has put more of a shadow over his future with the Panthers as he has struggled to stay healthy while backup Kyle Allen has played respectably well in his absence. It may be a bit early, but it certainly begs the question of whether he has played in his final game with the Panthers.
Cam Newton plagued by injury bug
It has been a rough go-round for Newton over the last couple of years that has seen him miss significant time due to injuries.
The Pro Bowler entered this season hoping to put those injury woes behind him. However, that saw him suffer a foot injury in the third preseason game the aggravated it in just the second game of the year.
There is no clarity if he will need any surgery on his current injury, but he’s less than a year removed from major shoulder surgery. Before that, he underwent an operation to repair a torn shoulder rotator cuff, and back in March 2014, he underwent surgery to fix a pedal ankle ligament grade 3 tear.
He had proven to be quite durable before these last two seasons as he missed just three games in his first seven years. However, the NFL is based on “what have you done for me lately,” and Newton has been on the sidelines.
Kyle Allen playing well in Cam Newton’s absence
The Panthers were hit with the significant blow of losing Newton early on in the season, but it opened the door for Allen to step right in.
The second-year quarterback has taken advantage of the opportunity, proving to be a steady option under center. Allen’s numbers have not been stellar by any means with 1,291 passing yards with nine touchdowns to four interceptions in six games played, but Carolina holds a 5-1 record with him.
Granted, star running back Christian McCaffrey has done much of the heavy lifting with an MVP-caliber campaign, but Allen has been a stable factor. He has primarily been mistake-free with three of his interceptions coming in the blowout against the San Francisco 49ers.
Allen isn’t nearly the same caliber of talent that Newton is, but the Panthers may have their next quarterback in place that can lead the team to success.
Cam Newton’s contract situation
Throughout his tenure with the Panthers, Newton has led the Panthers to a great deal of success that includes a trip to the Super Bowl.
However, injuries have riddled him over the last two years that may put his time with the franchise in the air. What may ultimately become the deciding factor could be his contract situation, as he’s currently in the fourth year of his five-year, $103.8 million deal.
The 2020 season puts him on the books for $21.1 million in base salary and bonuses with only a $2 million dead cap hit, which could lead the Panthers to pull the trigger if they are ready to move on. It could also open up the trade market as there are several other teams in search of a quarterback.
If he’s made readily available over the offseason, it may see franchises like the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and Tennessee Titans all express interest. There are many different ways this entire situation can unfold that could appease both sides beyond the 2019 season.
It’s still quite early in the process, but the Panthers may be set to take a major step into a new chapter without Newton at the helm.