Cam Newton is BACK! The former MVP and the Carolina Panthers agreed to terms on a one-year, $10 million contract. The greatest QB in Carolina Panthers history will be returning home. Newton met with Owner David Tepper, GM Stephen Drummond and other team officials to “clear the air”, according to NFL’s Ian Rapoport. It was also reported that Newton met with HC Matt Rhule before the Thursday meeting with Tepper and Co. This marks the definitive end of the Sam Darnold era in Carolina. This also marks the revival of the Panthers’ playoff hopes.
I can almost see and hear it now. Highlight packages of Cam Newton coming out of the tunnel with the John Williams Superman theme playing as the Panthers prepare for a Wild Card Playoff game. Cam has clearly been Superman for the Panthers’ franchise in the past. In 2015, Newton led the Panthers to the Superbowl for the second time in team history. Even more impressive, he did so with Ted Ginn Jr. as his number one receiver, although some might say that was Greg Olsen’s role. Regardless, Cam Newton has been nothing less than the greatest Panthers QB and maybe player of all time.
Drafted 1st overall in the legendary 2011 NFL Draft, Cam Newton was the face of the franchise for almost 10 years. Cam lead the Panthers to the playoffs 4 times, including the trip to the Superbowl in 2015. The last time Cam made a playoff appearance was in 2017, also the last time Carolina made an appearance. During the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Newton was plagued with injuries, playing 16 out of 32 possible games and finishing with a 6-10 record in those starts. In 2020, new owner David Tepper decided it was time for a change. Tepper let go of long time HC Ron Rivera and approved Cam Newton’s release from the team that offseason. This is a welcome reunion for both sides.
Since Newton’s release, Newton played one season with the New England Patriots. That season was full of troubles for Newton, between injury and inconsistent play from him and the team as a whole. The Patriots drafted Mac Jones 15th overall in the 2021 draft to be the future face of the franchise. The switch from Cam to Mac came sooner than many expected. Pats’ HC Bill Belichick named Jones the week one starter, and released Cam Newton soon after. Cam has been a free agent for three months now, but will finally get his chance to play this season.
Things haven’t been so great for the Panthers since Cam left either. The team went 5-11 in Rhule’s first year as head coach. Teddy Bridgewater was the starting QB for most of that season. Carolina decided to move on from Bridgewater after only a season. They would trade for former 1st round pick Sam Darnold, which if you read my article, Regarding Sam Darnold, you will see exactly how that experiment has gone.
Now that Cam is back with the Panthers, he is cleared to practice immediately, due to him getting vaccinated during his time off from football. I am doubtful that he will be ready start this week against the Cardinals; the team in which he made his first career start against. Look for him to make his 2021 on-field debut against former HC Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team. All in all, the halls of Bank of America Stadium feel a little safer now that Superman is back!