Cam Newton’s tenure with the Carolina Panthers may have come to a close.
On Tuesday, the Panthers announced that Newton was heading to what by all measures looks to be a season-ending injured reserve. Though there is a small chance that Newton could return if the team makes a late run in the playoffs, many league insiders believe there is a strong possibility that he has played his final down with the team and will be starting elsewhere in 2020.
Columnist Nate Davis of The Arizona Republic also believes that Newton’s time in Carolina may have come to an end. In the immediate, the Panthers appear to be well-placed to replace Newton as undrafted Kyle Allen has filled in capably at quarterback, winning six of his first seven starts going back to the end of last year. The Panthers have also shifted to an offense led by MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey, putting the Panthers in playoff contention even without their franchise quarterback.
As ESPN’s Adam Schefter also reported (via NBC Sports Chicago), the Panthers are expected to part ways with the former No. 1 overall pick. While Newton’s future is up in the air at the moment, Schefter said that the Chicago Bears could move on from Mitch Trubisky and go after Newton.
“When a team disappoints and struggles and has a year like they’re on track to having, inevitably at the end of a year like that, someone always pays,” Schefter said on ESPN 1000’s Kap and Company. “Sometimes multiple people. But in this particular case I think the first guy you’d look at would be the quarterback. If this keeps up this is where that’s going to be going. That’s my guess.”
There are a number of other teams that could be interested in Newton, who would be one of the most in-demand free-agent quarterbacks in years. Though he has been dealing with injuries in recent years, Newton would still be an improvement for a number of quarterback-hungry teams and a final piece for title-contending teams that are just a quarterback away.
Panthers place QB Cam Newton on IR, ending his 2019 season. pic.twitter.com/2ubdHEGSqx— NFL (@NFL) November 5, 2019
The move could also be beneficial for Carolina. If the Panthers are able to build a team around Allen rather than Newton, it would give them the ability to make other key acquisitions. Cam has a base salary of $18.6 million in 2020, while Allen would still be on a very team-friendly rookie deal and would put the team in a much more comfortable salary cap position.