Newton stayed afloat in free agency after the New England Patriots elected to part ways before the 2021 season since favoring to move forward with rookie Mac Jones as the starter. Since then, the 32-year-old has kept himself ready to play while getting the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid any additional hurdles.
Cam Newton has already won over Panthers head coach Matt Rhule
He is now returning to the franchise where he spent his first nine seasons, becoming one of the league’s top quarterbacks. He led the franchise to a Super Bowl 50 appearance in 2015 while earning the regular-season MVP award.
However, the last few years of his tenure became plagued by injury as he underwent shoulder and foot surgery that impacted his play and availability. All that led to the franchise moving on from him after the 2019 season. The Panthers head coach voiced strong confidence that Newton can step in to provide the team the lift it needs to push into the playoffs.
“Cam Newton is a winner. I know he can help us win. A healthy Cam Newton is an excellent player, a special player,” Rhule said via The Athletic. “You don’t do things to make people happy because then you have old teams with big names, and you don’t win. The best teams in this league make disciplined decisions. This is a disciplined decision.”
Newton landed with the New England Patriots, where he struggled to find any consistency. He returned for a second year, but his departure after the preseason led him to remain without a job through the first nine weeks of the 2021 season.
Newton must first get acquainted with Rhule’s offensive playbook, which likely means that he won’t play until Week 11. The Panthers will move forward with P.J. Walker as the starter against the Arizona Cardinals.
After that point, the Panthers will turn to Newton to hold down the starting job for the next several weeks. It’s a golden opportunity for him to cement his place as the starter for the foreseeable future. Darnold hasn’t presented a strong case to hold down the starting job as he’s struggled with seven touchdowns to a league-worst 11 interceptions in nine games played.
The Panthers, who hold a 4-5 record, currently sit on the outside looking in the playoff picture. Newton has the chance to be the difference maker that lifts the franchise back into postseason action.
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