The Carolina Panthers have officially signed free agent quarterback Cam Newton. This came following the injury to starting quarterback Sam Darnold, who could possibly miss the remainder of the 2021 NFL season. Darnold has not played well this season when healthy, so Newton will get the opportunity to try to earn back his job as a starter for the Panthers this season and beyond.
Newton previously had eight incredible seasons with the Panthers between 2011 and 2018. He was an NFL MVP and even led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance. At the peak of his career, Newton was one of the very best players in the entire NFL with his dual threat abilities. He will look to regain that form with the Panthers.
Can Cam Newton still be an elite quarterback for the Carolina Panthers?
Newton has not been the same quarterback since 2018 but when he was at his best he was truly a special player. His unique, dominant rushing style from the quarterback position was something that the NFL had never really seen before. He was bigger than most running backs and even some linemen as well with elite vision and athleticism.
In the 140 career games played, Newton has rushed for 5398 yards and 70 touchdowns. He has completed over 60 percent of his passes for nearly 32 thousand yards and 190 touchdowns. His ability to absolutely dominate an entire game was unmatched at the peak of his production.
Veteran quarterback Newton played in just two games in 2019 while missing almost the entire season due to injury. He was signed in 2020 by the New England Patriots and had mixed results thereafter. He struggled in the passing game, throwing eight touchdowns and ten interceptions, but was still able to find success in the ground game. He rushed for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was released in 2021 in favor of Mac Jones.
Newton now returns to the Panthers, where he had so much success, but the coaching staff is completely different. Ron Rivera was replaced by Matt Rhule as head coach. Rhule hired the young and innovative Joe Brady to be the offensive coordinator. The new scheme and progressive thinking coaches could be exactly what Newton needs to get back on track.
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Newton has looked like himself and six years since his best season in 2015. He is now 32 years old, which isn’t bad for a quarterback but is for someone who relies so much on their athleticism. Cam Newton is unlikely to return to his MVP-caliber form but has a great chance of success with the Panthers considering the coaching staff and roster around him.