Update: The Carolina Panthers have agreed to terms with Cam Newton. He is coming home. We will have more on his contract and when the team expects him to be able to participate in practice/play shortly.
Update 2: Newton reportedly signed a contract through the end of the 2021 season worth up to $10M. He will receive $4.5M guaranteed and $1.5M in an unspecified roster bonus. The remaining value of the contract will be tied up in incentives. This comes from reporting by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Panthers agree to terms with Cam Newton. It’s happening. https://t.co/v6u9vTdIF8— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) November 11, 2021
The Carolina Panthers are set to meet with Cam Newton per the Charlotte Observer. Owner David Tepper, head coach Matt Rhule, and vice president of football operations Steven Drummond will be there. It is unclear when, exactly, this meeting will take place.
Newton has been a free agent since being released by the New England Patriots during final roster cuts at the start of the 2021 season. The Panthers have been looking for a quarterback since they released Newton in March of 2020. Sam Darnold, their current bet at quarterback, has struggled this season and is currently on injured reserve with a broken shoulder blade that could sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Newton fits two bills for the Panthers at this awkward stage in their season. He is the most experienced veteran quarterback available and, if healthy, represents the highest upside move the team could make at the position. He is also a known entity from the fans’ perspective. We ran a poll yesterday here at Cat Scratch Reader and on Twitter that showed a large majority of fans were interested in bringing him back after the Darnold injury.
Do you want the Panthers to sign Cam Newton?
This poll is closed
Do you want the Panthers to bring Cam Newton back?— Cam Newton Reader (@CatScratchReadr) November 10, 2021
All of that is exciting, yes, but just because Cam has the highest ceiling and most experience of the current crop of free agent quarterbacks does not mean that the Panthers are guaranteed success from here on out.
Newton’s ceiling right now is potential, not a guarantee. He has had a lot of time to work on his health and fitness since we last saw him suit up in black and blue, but we don’t know how much recovery was ultimately possible. He could be 2015 Cam, he could be the Cam we saw for the first two games of 2020. He could be less than that. The thing that excites me the most about this is that we won’t know until we see him on the field. As someone who has been following Newton’s story since he entered the league in 2011, getting some clarity on his next chapter would be a thrill.
Of course, there is also no guarantee that the Panthers and Newton can come to an agreement. There is a lot of pride that will need to be set aside in that room, but I’m optimistic that it can be done. Both parties stand to gain more from setting aside 2020 and looking forward than they do from walking away because of bad blood.
Update: There is now a guarantee that the Panthers and Newton can come to an agreement. That guarantee is the fact that it just happened.