From MVP to Teamless: The Downfall of Cam Newton

by Adrian Mendoza Perez

Panthers Release Cam Newton After Nine Seasons

Cam Newton said on his Instagram that he’s “free and hungry” shortly after being released from his former team.

On Tuesday, March 24, the North Carolina Panthers released quarterback Cam Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, after they failed to find a trade offer. Newton rejected the Panthers’ request to seek a trade and was heavily against his own release, saying on Twitter that the Panthers "forced me into this.'' A couple of hours after his tweet, news broke that the Panthers planned to sign New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million contract. After finalizing the Bridgewater deal, Newton was let go to free up $21.1 million in salary-cap space during the 2020 season.

In recent seasons, shoulder and foot injuries have plagued and stifled Newton’s career and prevented him from reaching his maximum potential as a quarterback. At his best, Newton was undoubtedly one of the strongest throwers and one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league averaging 7.8 yards per pass and 4.8 yards per rush. Currently, Newton is recovering from a foot surgery, but he recently passed the Panther’s physical examination and is in good shape with both his shoulder and foot looking healthy. On Newton’s Instagram account, fans can see his many workouts and relentless attitude to get back on the field. However, is Cam Newton’s hard work enough to land him a starting quarterback position on an NFL team or is his star career finished?

According to Bill Polian, Hall of Fame executive, "Right now, he's worth nothing until such time as people can work him out and give him a physical—their own doctors give him a physical and then work him out.'' In order for Newton to find a team, he must prove that he is healthy, as being a 30-year-old coming off an injury in today’s league presents no upsides; however, Newton cannot do anything until the NFL reinstates all activities after the coronavirus pandemic ends. Until then, no team in the NFL will give anything up for him unless they know themselves that Newton is 100% healthy. Even if he does prove his well-being, it is still a risky choice signing the quarterback, as he is injury prone with a plummeting career. Although, there is still hope as the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars struggle to fill the starting quarterback position and could be destinations for Newton to prove his worth as the quarterback who once won Rookie of the Year in 2011, was a three-time Pro Bowler, and was the league MVP.

If Cam Newton were to sign with the New England Patriots or Jacksonville Jaguars he would have to beat out quarterbacks who have shown slight glimmers of stardom like Jarret Stidham and Gardner Minshew. Even if he did, critics doubt that Cam Newton’s newer style of play can coexist with Bill Belichick’s older coaching philosophy. Therefore, it is much more likely that Cam Newton ends up on a team like the Jaguars who have some resemblance to his former team the Panthers. With Leonard Fournette in the backfield and Cam as the starting quarterback, the Jaguars could be a surprise to many defenses and possibly clinch a playoff spot.