The latest Cam Newton injury shines a bright light on a trio of backup options who may not currently be ready for prime time. Behind Newton on the Carolina depth chart are Kyle Allen, rookie Will Grier, and Taylor Heinicke.
So if Newton ends up missing time with a foot/ankle injury, what should the Panthers do?
Safety Eric Reid undoubtedly will clamor for former teammate Colin Kaepernick, as Reid should. Given the similarity in skill sets between Kaerpernick and Newton, it makes sense. Given that Panthers owner David Tepper signed Reid a year ago, Tepper won’t shy away from the potential non-football fallout. Besides, Kaepernick is clearly a better option than the other quarterbacks on the roster; if coach Ron Rivera wants to win games, he should want Kaepernick.
If not Kaepernick, how about Teddy Bridgewater? The Saints backup possibly is sliding behind Taysom Hill, and Bridgewater has a history with Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who served in that same role during Bridgewater’s first two seasons in Minnesota.
Sure, it would require a pair of rivals to do business. But quarterbacks have been traded in the same division before (Donovan McNabb to Washington, Drew Bledsoe to Buffalo), and the Saints could be willing to accommodate Bridgewater if they have come to the conclusion that he’s not a viable long-term option to succeed Drew Brees — and if they can get real value for a guy who could end up at No. 3 in New Orleans.
Whatever the Panthers do, they likely need to do something if Newton’s injury ends up being something that keeps him out of the regular-season opener and possibly beyond. And they need to do it quickly, so that the new guy, whoever it is, can get up to speed with Aaron Donald coming to town to start the season in only 16 days.