Carolina Panthers bringing back former MVP Cam Newton


The Carolina Panthers are bringing back quarterback Cam Newton, the NFL announced on Thursday.

The deal is reportedly worth $10 million for the rest of the year, including $4.5 million guaranteed plus a $1.5 million roster bonus, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Newton, 32, last played in the NFL in December 2020, a 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers while completing his one season with the New England Patriots.

After meeting with head coach Matt Rhule and Panthers’ brass earlier Thursday, Newton came to terms with the organization that selected him first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton’s signing gives the Panthers a more battled-tested option at quarterback while the team looks to replace Sam Darnold, who is expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks with a shoulder injury.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that P.J. Walker is expected to start on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Matt Barkley, signed off the Tennessee Titans practice squad, is slated to be his backup.

Rhule also said Wednesday the team would “continue to explore all options” at quarterback. When asked specifically at the meeting about Newton, Rhule said he “didn’t want to discuss hypotheticals” and said his focus is entirely on the players are on the roster.

Newton has struggled in recent years to get back to the playing level that earned him league MVP honors in 2015, in part due to shoulder and foot injuries. Newton is 7-16 in his last 23 career starts with 20 interceptions and 17 touchdown passes. He has run for 12 TDs during that span.

Newton spent nine seasons with the Panthers, throwing for 29,041 yards with 182 touchdown passes and 111 interceptions. He also set an NFL record for most career touchdowns rushing by a quarterback during his tenure in Carolina.

Newton’s best season came in 2015 when he combined for 45 touchdowns – 35 passing and 10 rushing – and helped the Panthers reach the Super Bowl after going 15-1 during the regular season. However, Newton struggled in Super Bowl 50 and the Panthers lost 24-10 to Von Miller, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Newton was 18 of 41 for 265 yards with no touchdowns and two turnovers in that game and was sacked six times.

He also was criticized widely for his decision not to jump on a loose ball after he’d been stripped of the football.

Newton was released before the 2020 season in a salary cap move after losing his final eight starts for the Panthers. Newton signed with the New England Patriots last season and started 15 games. He continued to struggle throwing the football, with 10 interceptions with only eight TDs passing. He ran for 12 TDs and was 7-8 as a starter.

Over his career, Newton has 2,613 completions over 4,348 attempts for a 60.1% completion rate.

–With files from the Associated Press

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