Teams interested in Cam Newton can give him a pre-March 18 physical

Getty Images

Trades can’t be finalized before March 18. Which means that any team interested in trading for, say, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will have to choose between trading for Newton and signing one of the various available free agents before those available free agents sign with someone else.

The good news is that a team that wants to trade for Newton will be able to do some homework before making that decision. According to the NFL, a team interested in trading for a player can give the player a physical, with the permission of his current team.

That becomes a hugely critical fact as it relates to Newton, who has multiple body parts that a new team will want to poke and prod before putting together an offer the Panthers would accept — especially if Newton, who is due to make only $19.1 million this year, will want a new contract.

The stakes will be very high for Newton’s new team, especially if he wants a new contract. And it will be important that, sooner than later, the new team have its doctors assess Newton’s foot and shoulder and ankle and anything else about which they may have concern.

And if that’s going to happen, it needs to happen soon, because the planets already are beginning the loose process of aligning in advance of the making of formal offers on March 16, two days before the start of the league year.