Panthers seem to be poised to try to trade Cam Newton

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Monday’s leak that the Panthers expect quarterback Cam Newton to pass a physical in March is less about Newton playing for the Panthers than it is about the Panthers possibly trading him to someone else.

From Carolina’s perspective, Newton getting healthy in March is meaningless, if they play to keep him. The offseason program doesn’t begin until April; it doesn’t matter if he’s healthy in March.

It does matter if he’s healthy in March, however, if the Panthers hope to trade him at the start of the league year. And it does matter that the team leaked that they expect Newton to pass a physical in March, in order to send a message to any and all interested teams that Newton is available.

Teams currently are making their plans when if comes to the coming crop of free-agent quarterbacks. Those teams need to know that Newton is in play. Monday’s leak does just that.

Thus, teams that will be looking for quarterbacks now need to be looking at Newton. Of course, it won’t be easy or cheap to pull it off. First, the Panthers will want compensation for the final year of Newton’s contract. Second, Newton likely will (or at least should) want a new contract, given that he’s due to make a mere $19.1 million in salary and workout bonus in 2020. Third, it’s unclear how healthy Newton is, and how long he’ll stay healthy if/when he gets there.

Just a week ago, Panthers owner David Tepper played the “I’m not a doctor” card when addressing Newton’s health, ignoring the reality that Tepper is rich enough to buy the opinion of any and all doctors on the Eastern Seaboard. The more likely reality is that the Panthers, with new owner and new coach, would like to move on. Newton, who has seen the only NFL head coach he’s ever known move on, may want the same thing.

To the extent that the Panthers have become fatigued by concerns regarding Newton’s health, a team that becomes infatuated by his talent may be willing to roll the dice. The question then becomes the cost of the roll, if Newton indeed pushes for a new deal as part of a trade.

In this regard, Newton has plenty of leverage. Wherever he is, he needs to fully buy in. That may not be in Carolina, and it may not be with any other team that doesn’t want to put his pay in line with other elite quarterbacks.

If healthy, Newton clearly remains an elite quarterback. And a team like the Chargers should be doing whatever it has to do to make his their starter as they open a new stadium with the Rams. Then there are the Patriots, who could end up looking for a new quarterback — and who are 0-2 against Newton.

However it plays out, it’s starting to feel like Newton will be out of Charlotte. Monday’s leak seems to be nothing more than an effort to subtly hammer a “For Sale” sign into the ground outside Bank of America Stadium.

17 responses to “Panthers seem to be poised to try to trade Cam Newton

  1. He’s due to make a total of $19.1M next year. What team is going to trade anything of value for the right to pay that kind of money to a guy who can’t stay off the injured list? That would be a bargain for a starter but he’s coming off a season in which he only played two games. The year before he played injured most of the year and couldn’t throw it farther than twenty yards downfield. It would be a risky move for someone.

    I doubt if anyone would trade anything more than a third-day pick for him. If that doesn’t happen look for them to just cut him outright. If that happens I wouldn’t be surprised if the most he gets is half of that $19.1M.

  2. It doesn’t make sense to trade him. The only quarterbacks worth grabbing will be gone by the time the 7th pick rolls around and they so many holes they can’t afford to trade up. They should stand pat and take Derrick Brown or Isaiah Simmons. If all these haters are right about Cam being done, then they’ll be in a position to get Lawrence next year. If Cam gets hurt again, then they will definitely be picking early next year. Tepper should be happy with a twenty million dollar 30 year old former MVP quarterback that finally had enough time to heal.

  3. 2015 MVP Cam Newton was something else. If he can recapture that for just one more season that’d be exciting to watch and worth giving up a first round pick for.

  4. Raiders is the perfect landing spot.
    They have the cap space and the draft picks to make it happen. I’m not a Cam fan, but he’s better than Carr. Las Vegas is a good fit for his flamboyant personality.

  5. Newton, while only turning 31 years old in May, has dealt with foot, ankle, knee, back, and shoulder injuries as well as at least one concussion. He’s going to need to limit his running as he ages and is only a 59.6% career passer, having only finished above 60% twice in his nine years in the league. Not the greatest harbinger for future success going forward.

  6. If healthy, Newton clearly remains an elite quarterback.

    Really?

    He’s never been an elite Qb and now that he has been injured for most of the last 2 years I dont think he never would be considered a quality starter again

  7. He’s not even in the top half of QBs, let alone elite. That’s not to say nobody would trade for him or offer him elite money. There are a lot of stupid GMs out there and a lot of owners who don’t really care about winning. I could see Vegas making a play for him.

  8. The Bears are the team that makes by far the most sense. But this line here…

    “If healthy, Newton clearly remains an elite quarterback.”

    …is actually the problem. Health is a concern, but even if it is not, Newton’s skills are not exactly immune to questioning. I say this as someone who actually does believe that Newton is a good quarterback. However, it has been so long since we’ve seen him be that quarterback that is there is legitimate concern as to what “healthy” means for Cam at this point. Healthy enough to play, or healthy enough to play well?

    Newton was missing on throws that were gimmes before sitting out. Whether that had to do with his foot or his shoulder I cannot say as a fan watching the TV at home, but it definitely did not LOOK like a footwork issue. Newton still SHOULD have at least several years left, which gives the impression that he could have a productive second half of his career with another team. However, there are few QBs right now that could do that. What would convince a team to trade for Newton over Andy Dalton? What makes one worth more than the other? Is it a health issue, or a scheme issue, or a personality preference? Newton certainly has matured immensely and become a valuable leader with the Panthers, but his personality is certainly unmistakable, and the new team may not want it (for better or for worse).

    So yes, there are plenty of questions. Newton and Dalton will be the two most interesting names to watch in my opinion, since both they (and Mariota, though I would consider him the same tier) could have a few more productive years leading another franchise, and doing so as more than just a bridge QB. There are only a few teams that could use them this way, like Chicago or Jacksonville (possibly Indianapolis if they jettison Brissett and want to win now or the Bucs if they let Winston walk and do not draft a young guy for Arians to groom), and some of them will want to draft a solution, but I think it comes down to Dalton versus Newton for those teams that want to simply plug-in a veteran to win and not have to teach a new guy.

    The Bears make the most sense for Newton in my mind, because of his mobility, ability to run the read-option, and his leadership value. But the question of how far away Newton is from his MVP season (or his playoff appearance the year after) is still real, whether or not he is cleared to play.

  9. Sorry, in the comment above, I meant to say that I would NOT consider Mariota the same tier as Dalton or Newton.

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