As the Carolina Panthers consider other options, here are five teams Cam Newton could land on next year.
Cam Newton has not played since Week 2 due to a foot injury, but the Carolina Panthers have been just fine. Kyle Allen is 4-0 as the starter in place of the 2015 NFL MVP, with his greatest test coming Sunday against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
Newton had been expected to practice when the Panthers came out of their Week 7 bye. But he did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, he’ll obviously miss the game against the 49ers and it’s unclear when he might be healthy enough to play. And that leaves out any idea he’ll get the starting job back right away, particularly as long as Allen keeps being a winning quarterback for Carolina.
Newton has one more year left on his contract after this one. But if the Panthers wanted to move on, they could cut him before June 1 next year and clear $19.1 million in cap space while they’d absorb only a $2 million dead money hit. A trade before June 1, 2020 would have the same financial impacts.
It would certainly be a bold move to cut or trade Newton. But Allen shows he can be a multi-year answer under center for the Panthers, and/or they want to get more of a look at 2019 third-round pick Will Grier. The cap space that would be cleared could be used to bring a veteran signal caller into the mix and fill other holes.
A trade involving Newton before Tuesday’s trade deadline is possible, but highly, highly unlikely. But the percentage chance the former No. 1 overall pick is elsewhere next year is growing, and these five teams could be in on Newton if he’s available.
5. Tennessee Titans
Marcus Mariota has one foot out the door after being benched, and Ryan Tannehill is all but certainly only a stopgap over the rest of this season. So the Titans will be in the market for a quarterback (or quarterbacks) this offseason, via free agency, a trade and/or the draft.
At his peak, Newton was probably something close to what Tennessee thought Mariota could be as a dynamic dual threat. Even in a depleted form, assuming his throwing shoulder and foot are good and stay that way, he’s still an upgrade over what the Titans have had under center.