The Carolina Panthers might be forced by injury to make what is probably the wisest decision they can make with their starting quarterback position. Cam Newton is rehabbing the foot injury that cost him most of 2019, and it is creating “a timeline that complicates any potential trade,” according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
A lot can still happen in the coming months, but as of now, the #Panthers are moving forward with Cam Newton as their starting QB, sources say. While his foot is healing well, it will be several months until it’s game-ready — a timeline that complicates any potential trade.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2020
Newton injured his foot last preseason, and after playing the first two games of the season, was sidelined the rest of the way. Kyle Allen got the opportunity to start in Newton’s place. He was fairly solid in his first four games, but after the Panthers’ bye, things went south in a hurry. Will Grier replaced him the final two games of the season, and was not even decent.
Last week, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue reported that Newton was expected to be able to pass his physical in March, and be cleared for “some” football activity. Newton is entering the final year of a deal that pays him $19.1 million in salary and a bonus. It’s a great value for a healthy Newton, but he has struggled to stay healthy the past couple years.
The team could trade Newton and clear the full $19.1 million. There has been extensive speculation they plan on doing that, but the question then is how they approach the quarterback position. There are not many options with Newton’s talent level. They could try and sign a Philip Rivers or Jameis Winston if they wanted a veteran. They hold the No. 7 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but being behind the Bengals, Dolphins, and Chargers would likely require a trade up to land one of the big name quarterbacks.
Newton is the team’s best option if he is healthy. Carolina might not want to take the risk of another injury, but if he is not at 100 percent now, they might be forced to.