The quarterback carousel is spinning in Carolina, as the Panthers brought in former franchise player and 2015 MVP Cam Newton this week to help fill the void left by an injury to 2021 starter Sam Darnold.
However, it sounds like the organization’s top quarterback job may be up for grabs moving forward beyond this year.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday, that the Panthers are operating under the assumption that Darnold will be out for the remainder of the season. That led the organization to bring Newton aboard on a deal that will guarantee him about $6 million and that is filled with performance-based incentives.
But beyond playing for a larger payday, the 32-year-old will reportedly be playing for his future in the NFL over the next few weeks. According to Schefter, if Newton plays well this season, he would become the favorite to be the Panthers starting quarterback in 2022.
Carolina Panthers operating as if Sam Darnold will be out for the season while giving Cam Newton a chance to win the 2022 starting job, per sources:https://t.co/N3Ql7rlI6o
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 14, 2021
The report comes as a bit of a shock, considering the Panthers just traded for Darnold this offseason. Carolina hoped to rehabilitate the former first-rounder after his underwhelming tenure with the New York Jets, but has received a mixed bag of results.
Darnold got off to one of the best starts of his career, but has come back to Earth in recent weeks. In his last three games, prior to landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, the 24-year-old had thrown four interceptions with no touchdowns.
As a result of Darnold’s poor play lately, the NFL world was intrigued by Schefter’s Sunday morning report about Newton. Many hypothesized how the Panthers’ quarterback competition might play out.
— KimberLEY A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) November 14, 2021
Makes total sense to me. See what Cam has and take it from there. Could bring Cam back for 2022 but it also doesn’t preclude them from taking a quarterback next April either https://t.co/NAN6J6YaBL
— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) November 14, 2021
I don’t want to bag on Sam, but that trade is looking better and better by the Jets. Panthers made a huge mistake parting with that draft capital. https://t.co/AHarqQdKuD
— David Wyatt-Hupton (@DWyattHupton) November 14, 2021
— Cat Crave (@CatCraveBlog) November 14, 2021
This is why I didn’t necessarily think those “no one signed him because he’s totally washed” arguments. Cam was looking for the right situation. This is it-one with a clear path to being a starter for the remainder of the year. Those haven’t really existed since he was cut. https://t.co/4X9fTAEGwd
— Chris Maza (@Mazasmusings) November 14, 2021
Newton hasn’t played in a game since the 2020 season, where he started 15 times for the New England Patriots. He was cut before the 2021 campaign after losing out on the top job to rookie Mac Jones.
However, it sounds like Newton has a legitimate opportunity to reclaim a gig as an NFL starter. He won’t play this weekend as he gets acclimated to his new situation in Carolina, but should have a chance to suit up next Sunday.
P.J. Walker will start at quarterback for the Panthers this weekend against the Arizona Cardinals.