Throughout much of the last few months, there has been much uncertainty around star quarterback Cam Newton‘s future with the Carolina Panthers. Newton went through an injury-plagued campaign that saw him miss almost the entire year, which put a bigger cloud over his prospects of remaining with the franchise another season. The Panthers made that much clear as they publicly aired that they are ready to trade the Pro Bowler, but that may be much harder said than done.
Panthers moving off Cam Newton
The tea leaves have been there all along as the Panthers continued to hint at their desire to move off Newton.
It saw team owner David Tepper voice significant doubts about the 30-year-old’s health, given that he had his last two seasons end prematurely due to substantial injuries that both required surgery. Meanwhile, Newton had voiced that he still had a strong commitment to the franchise and was ready to prove that he still has plenty left in the tank.
However, Carolina has signaled that they are officially moving on from him as they have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with Teddy Bridgewater. That puts to bed any doubts that the team would revert to giving Newton another chance in the final year of his five-year, $103.8 million deal.
All of that effectively pushes the former league MVP one foot out of the door in the trade market, but that will come with some foreseeable hurdles to get past first on that front.
What could prevent the Panthers from trading Cam Newton
It’s no secret that Newton has dealt with his fair share of injuries throughout his first nine years in the league. That has been even more so the case over the last two seasons as he underwent offseason surgeries to repair the issues.
Newton’s long history of injuries will come into play in the trade market as interested teams will want to get further details about his health. However, there may be a problem on that end as Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports pointed out that the coronavirus precautionary safety measures could keep teams from being able to travel to conduct physical exams.
That was made clear in the memo the league sent out on Monday that any franchise can’t travel to any location to meet with a player. It places a significant damper on the Panthers’ attempt to move Newton this offseason as teams will likely be comfortable with trading for the star quarterback if there is clarity from their own medical personnel concerning his health.
It’s a sticky situation that is only made more difficult for this matter to be handled in a more timely fashion. Instead, it could see it linger much longer than hoped for Carolina.
What are the Panthers’ options with Cam Newton?
With Carolina effectively moving on from Newton with the anticipated signing of Bridgewater, it puts them in a unique spot.
The Panthers prefer to trade the Pro Bowler to get something in exchange for him with teams like the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers potentially interested. Newton is in the final year of his deal that is scheduled for a $21 million cap hit for the 2020 season.
That financial burden could be significantly minimized if the team either trades or releases him this offseason with just a $2 million dead cap value. The Panthers have their options in front of them, which could wind up seeing them choosing to cut him if no trade is feasible.
Beyond that, it’s a rough transition for Newton that he will have to adjust to the reality he’s no longer the franchise quarterback in Carolina.