All David Tepper knows for sure about Cam Newton‘s shoulder is they both need it to be right.
The Panthers owner said multiple times during an interview Tuesday that he didn’t know any of the specific details of Newton’s progress from the shoulder injury which torpedoed the 2018 season. But he also emphasized that the Panthers have to be prepared for anything in 2019, including the possibility that Newton may need more time.
“We’ve got to make sure we have our options open in all ways possible, just in case,” Tepper said. “We’re all hoping everything will be great — and it could be great. Look at [the Colts’ Andrew] Luck this year. Who knows?”
Following up on that rather significant stumbling block he threw in his own way, Tepper emphasized the need to make sure Newton is healthy.
“If you told me that he took a year off and could be fully recovered and everything else and that’s what it took, an extra year, why wouldn’t you do that?” Tepper hypothesized. “Now, we would have to do other things and we’d have to go out and get another quarterback, which, if you could find me some more cap space, I’d appreciate that.”
At another point in the interview, he said: “Hopefully Cam’s shoulder is fantastic and we’re all hunky-dory.”
The reality is, until they have a clearer picture of Newton’s physical condition — which they don’t at the moment — they can’t know for sure. But the need for a Plan B was clearly on Tepper’s mind (nothing against Taylor Heinicke or Kyle Allen but they needed then and still need an experienced option). He’s also cognizant they’re near the bottom of the league in cap space, which could require a creative solution.