Has Cam Newton played his last down for Panthers?

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton has been placed on the injured reserve, and he may be headed for a new team in 2020.

Nobody can forget how Cam Newton carried the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance in the 2015 season. He was the NFL’s unquestioned MVP, nearly leading the Panthers to a perfect regular season record by making the most out of a very limited supporting cast. Newton’s downfield accuracy, pocket presence, intelligent manipulation of pass rushers, and rushing ability made him the NFL’s biggest mis-match nightmare.

At the time, Newton was mentioned among the league’s elite quarterbacks and single-handedly turned the Panthers into a perennial force in the NFC. But all the tough hits and lack of protection from the NFL’s league office have led to mounting injuries.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers have officially placed Newton on the injured reserve with a foot injury, ending his season. Kyle Allen will continue to start for Carolina.

It’s sad to see how Newton’s health as deteriorated, as an injury also shortened his 2018 season. Newton is still in his prime at the age of 30 and should have a few more years of elite quarterback play, but that hinges on his ability to get healthy.

And if he does have a lot more left to give to NFL fans, his next start may not come in Carolina. Newton will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021, and the Panthers can save nearly $20 million against the cap if they trade him before the 2020 season begins.

The Panthers may feel like they cannot wait around for Newton to be healthy or give him another contract in 2021, whereas they may like what the have seen from Allen, who has kept the Panthers in the playoff hunt this season.

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However, Newton could be a franchise-altering trade acquisition for a number of teams around the league. The Chicago Bears, for example, could be a Super Bowl contender again if they acquire Newton, who would be a much better option than Mitch Trubisky in every sense of quarterback play. That, of course, assumes Newton is healthy, but it’s a risk worth taking for a team like the Bears that should be boom-or-bust for a Super Bowl in 2020 and 2021.

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