What’s old is new again.
The Panthers announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with Cam Newton, bringing their former franchise quarterback back into the fold.
According to multiple reports, the deal is for one year.
With Sam Darnold out for several weeks with a shoulder injury, Carolina needed help at quarterback. P.J. Walker is expected to start for the team this week against the Cardinals. The Panthers also signed Matt Barkley to their active roster off of the Titans’ practice squad.
Carolina released Newton, 32, last March after he spent his first nine seasons with the franchise. The No. 1 pick of the 2011 draft, Newton compiled a 68-55-1 record in 124 games as Carolina’s starting quarterback, completing 60 percent of his passes for 29,041 yards with 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions. He also rushed for 58 touchdowns for the Panthers.
He was the 2015 MVP, leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and a conference championship. Carolina lost to Denver in Super Bowl 50.
Newton spent the 2020 season and 2021 training camp with the Patriots before he was released in August. He started 15 games for New England, throwing for just 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns last year.
Though he was unvaccinated while with the Patriots, Newton is now reportedly vaccinated, which allows him to immediately rejoin the Panthers.
It’s unclear whether Carolina would have Newton start games even when Darnold is healthy, though it might not be a bad idea. Though he started off hot, Darnold has regressed back into one of the league’s worst passers. He is currently 31st among 33 qualified players with a 71.3 passer rating. Only rookies Zach Wilson and Justin Fields have worse marks. Darnold is also currently tied for the league lead with 11 interceptions.
Newton has not played under Panthers’ current head coach Matt Rhule, as he was hired in January 2020. But the Panthers do play Newton’s former coach Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team next Sunday for Week 11.