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Cam Newton returning to the Carolina Panthers still in the cards

Vincent Frank

Former NFL MVP Cam Newton starred with the Carolina Panthers from 2011-19, leading the team to a Super Bowl appearance in the process.

One of the greatest players in franchise history saw his career derailed by multiple injuries before he was ultimately released by the Panthers ahead of the 2020 season.

After a brief one-year stint with the New England Patriots, Cam returned to the Panthers a season ago. He started five games in limited action with Sam Darnold acting as the Panthers’ primary starting quarterback.

Still on the free agent market, there’s now a chance that Newton could return to the Panthers. Carolina general manager Scott Fitterer indicates that the “lines of communication” remain open between the two sides.

“I think we’re still having thought. We have to see how this works out here throughout the spring. I just happened to be up at the Kentucky Derby last weekend and Cam was up there. We’re texting a little bit. The lines of communication are open. I know Coach Rhule has spoken with him. We are going to have a discussion at some point but we’re just not quite there yet, but we’ll see how it goes. The more competition we have at that position the better.”

Carolina Panthers’ Scott Fitterer on Cam Newton, via Pro Football Talk

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Does Cam Newton make sense for the Carolina Panthers?

cam newton, carolina panthers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina has been linked to both Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo in trade talks. Nothing appears to be imminent on either front. That makes sense given their salaries and the fact that incumbent starter Sam Darnold is slated to count $18.86 million against the cap in 2022.

The Panthers also selected quarterback Matt Corral out of Mississippi in the third-round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Panthers seem to be high on the young signal caller.

“One of the things that really stood out, aside from the physical traits, was the competitiveness and toughness of him. The guy took a pounding—kept getting up, kept getting up,” Fitterer said. “And when it just comes to the physical traits—the quick release, the mobility, the ability to get out and run, throw on the run. He sees the field well. He processes quickly. So all those things really stood out to us.”

So, where does this leave Mr. Newton? Competition is great. Having an experienced back up behind the struggling Darnold also makes some sense. However, Newton is years removed from being a starter-caliber quarterback in the NFL.

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  • Cam Newton stats (2011-18): 60% completion, 28,469 yards, 182 TD, 107 INT, 86.4 rating
  • Cam Newton stats (2019-21): 62% completion, 3,913 yards, 12 TD, 16 INT, 77.1 rating

As you can see, Newton has struggled big time in recent seasons. Last year alone with Carolina, he posted an 0-5 record in five starts while throwing four touchdowns against five interceptions. All said, he has lost his past 13 starts as a member of the Panthers dating back to 2018.

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