After Sam Darnold’s latest injury setback, the Panthers brought in Matt Barkley and named PJ Walker as the starter for the time being. But that was before the addition of Newton, and the former MVP is back where he made his mark on the NFL.
The timing feels right for both sides, especially after the disastrous play of Darnold over the past few games. Reactions of Newton’s Carolina return came pouring in, and former All-Pro teammate sang praises for the Panthers quarterback.
Cam Newton is back
Who saw this coming?
After the New England Patriots sent Cam newton to the free-agent market, he failed to find work elsewhere. There are several quarterback-needy teams, with the New Orleans Saints the latest to be ravaged by injuries.
Unfortunately, nobody wanted to kick the tires on Newton. Enter the Panthers, who called up their former signal-caller and struck a lofty deal — one that could net him up to $10 million.
That is a lot of money for barely half a season. Furthermore, it remains unclear when Newton will take over the starting job. Regardless, Superman is back in Carolina as the Panthers quarterback room continues to change by the season.
Former All-Pro Greg Olsen raves about Newton after his decision to return to the Panthers
This sums up the relationship between Newton and Greg Olsen perfectly. The quarterback-tight end duo terrorized opponents during their time together with the Panthers.
Olsen then left for the Seattle Seahawks, and Newton eventually left for the Patriots. Now, Olsen does analysis for NFL games on FOX. During Thursday’s Miami Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens game, Olsen got honest on his feelings toward Newton (h/t FOX Sports NFL).
“I’ve been clear on the impact [Cam Newton] has made on my career. He’s the best thing to ever happen to me, on and off the field … I can’t wait to see what he does.”
Greg Olsen on Cam Newton
Some heavy praise from Olsen. The pair lit it up for a long time with the Panthers. The All-Pro tight end was Newton’s favorite target.
During Olsen’s nine seasons with the Panthers, he compiled 6,463 yards and 39 trips to the end zone, with Newton being on the other side in the majority of those. They were unstoppable, and it was a shame to see them head elsewhere after such a terrific run together.
So, Olsen knows best about Cam and can’t wait to see what he has left in the tank.
The return of #1 comes at a desperate time for the Panthers
Darnold, Walker, Bridgewater all in the past year. What’s worse is the amount of money they still owe Bridgewater and Darnold, not to mention the draft picks they sent to the Jets to acquire the latter.
So, while the addition of Newton is exciting in Carolina, it shows the franchise’s desperation to find any half-decent quarterback play. The Panthers rushed out to a 3-1 record, somehow, with Darnold playing well but have sputtered to a 4-5 clip and last place in the NFC South.
The hope is that Newton can come right in and get this team back on track. If you thought he was coming in to be a backup, think again. Teams don’t pay backup quarterbacks that much money for half a season. Teams hardly pay backup quarterbacks that much money for an entire season.
He will be the starter, although it might take some time for him to pick up the new system with Matt Rhule as the head coach and Joe Brady as the offensive coordinator.
Either way, Panthers fans can bust out their old Newton jerseys and put them on once again.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference