Last year, the Panthers brought back quarterback Cam Newton for a second stint. It sold tickets and created excitement. It didn’t generate many wins.
Then there’s the fact that Newton can’t really be just a guy on the depth chart. He’s revered by teammates. At a minimum, the starter would have to have a sufficiently strong grip on his job to not feel threatened by that. Mayfield may not be in the best position to shrug at Newton’s presence on the depth chart, if the Panthers trade Sam Darnold.
Newton recently made the case to still be a starter. No team has shown any interest in signing him this year. The Panthers, for business reasons in what fundamentally is an entertainment business, were a good option. They’re off the table for now, and they likely will be for all of the coming season — barring very significant and unexpected changes.