RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Should the Panthers deal quarterback Cam Newton? The answer is no.
But for the sake of conversation, we’ll explore a couple of teams that could use the Panthers’ former MVP.
Quarterback Kyle Allen has played wonderfully in Newton’s stead — he’s yet to throw an interception and the team is undefeated with him under center.
The Panthers are fresh off of a revenge game of sorts, defeating the Buccaneers in London on Sunday. Allen threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, one to Curtis Samuel and another to Christian McCaffrey. The pair both added rushing touchdowns to boot.
So yeah, the Panthers are on a roll, but does that mean they should kick the tires on Newton? Probably not, and the reason is simple.
Regression can be expected, even though Allen has a hot hand. Eventually, Allen will throw that elusive interception and he’ll earn a blemish on his current 5-0 career record.
Speaking of that record, Allen joined Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Jimmy Garoppolo (Patriots/49ers), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), Marc Bulger (Rams), Daunte Culpepper (Vikings) and Kurt Warner (Rams) in the 5-0 start club.
Also, the NFL is devoid of quality backup quarterbacks and only a handful of teams have been able to make it work long term. If Cam Newton is forced to be a backup in favor of an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, the team would have the league’s best backup, by far. It’s a great position to be in.
But the last time we seen Newton, he didn’t look like what you’d expect. Injuries have hampered him for some time and his toughness has had him play through a lot of those ailments.
Newton is also a free agent after the 2020 season and the team has given no indication that he’ll have a new deal after that, but the two sides have time to figure that part out.
Allen is currently aided by an unrelenting Panthers defense that accounted for seven sacks and five interceptions, including one on Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s first pass of the game on Sunday. Their league-high 27 sacks over their first six games are the highest total in franchise history.
So even when Allen isn’t at his best — and going through his fumbling issues — the Panthers defense has made it their mission to be a huge part of the difference between wins and losses during this win streak. He’s also had help from MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey.
The Panthers have a bye week to think about things, and Newton is expected to be back on the practice field while the team gets the week off. When their Oct. 27 matchup against the 49ers arrives, it will have been nearly six weeks since Newton has played.
So what will head coach Ron Rivera do?
“I’m not going to worry about it,” Rivera said. “I’m not going to speculate on anything until I have to address that. So until then, we’re going to stay in the now, stay in the focus of what we’re doing right now.”
“As far as I’m concerned, we’re not going to deal with the question until it is time. And when the time comes, I will address it. As far as I’m concerned, [Cam’s] in the rehab program and he’s doing the program and our quarterback right now playing for us is Kyle. So we’re not going to address it.”
When Allen was asked what it will be like when Newton is ready to return, the answer was simple, “He’ll be ready to return. I don’t know.”
Here are a few options that could happen:
The Dolphins are the league’s worst team and it’s not even close. It’s unlikely that they will make a play for Newton because first-year coach Brian Flores probably wants his own brand-new, shiny, field general. Maybe Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, LSU’s Joe Burrow or Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts could be the choice.
Personally, I’d hate to see Newton head to the doldrums of Miami. Their offensive line problems and lack of offensive weapons is a dead-end for a quarterback who needs to prove he can still compete among the league’s elite quarterbacks.
If Miami pulls the trigger, it’s imperative that they maintain their cache of multiple first-round picks because they need immediate impact talent they can feel comfortable about putting out there on day one.
Potential trade: Dolphins get Cam Newton, Panthers get Dolphins’ 2020 2nd (via Saints) and 3rd round picks
The Bengals are another team with a first-year head coach in Zac Taylor that may prefer to have his own pick at quarterback.
Unlike the Dolphins, Cincy has solid playmakers on offense, but current quarterback Andy Dalton may not be the answer anymore.
Imagine receiver AJ Green catching passes from Cam Newton. Newton’s dual-threat ability could also open up running lanes and more opportunities for RB Joe Mixon.
Newton has excelled in a zone-read system in the past and with Mixon in the backfield, Green and fellow receivers Tyler Boyd and John Ross III on the outside, the Bengals could regain some relevance in the league.
Of course, they have more problems outside of shotty quarterback play like their underwhelming offensive line and defense, but acquiring Newton could be a step in the right direction.
Potential trade: Bengals get Cam Newton and 2021 3rd round pick, Panthers get Bengals 2nd and 4th round picks in 2020
It looks like the Titans are falling out of favor with quarterback Marcus Mariota which they drafted 2nd overall in 2015.
Mariota is a free agent after the 2019 season and although he has played at a less-than-desired level, he’ll likely be looking for a huge payday given his relative youth and decent output as a starter.
But what if the Titans made a swap while sweetening the deal with a mid-round draft pick or two? This exact deal would probably not happen, but it’d raise a few eyebrows if it did.
Newton would undoubtedly be an upgrade over Mariota and could flourish with a bruiser like Henry in the backfield and a rising talent in receiver Corey Davis on the outside. The Panthers would also get a quality quarterback in return who may just need a change of scenery to pull it all together. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
Potential trade: Titans get Cam Newton, 2020 7th round pick, Panthers get Marcus Mariota and 2020 5th round pick
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