Whether or not quarterback Cam Newton is back with the Carolina Panthers next season will depend largely on his health, according to owner David Tepper.
Speaking to The MMQB in a story published Thursday, Tepper was asked if Newton’s future will be determined by whoever the Panthers hire as their next head coach.
“Cam’s future is going to largely be up to how good he feels,” Tepper said. “That’s first. It’s actually an interesting question to me when there’s a lot of speculation on this because there should be no speculation on Cam one way or the other. If Cam’s healthy, he’s an elite player. So we all hope Cam’s healthy. And people will use an elite player because there just aren’t that many elite players in the league.
“… I still think he has the potential to be an elite player — he’s not that old — if he’s healthy. If he’s not healthy, that’s a different thing.”
Newton, 30, had surgery this week to repair a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, an issue that surfaced in the preseason. He initially returned to play the first two weeks of the regular season but aggravated the injury in Week 2. He landed on injured reserve in November, and after progress in his rehab was limited, Newton decided earlier this month to have surgery.
The nine-year veteran has also had a pair of surgeries on his throwing shoulder in recent years, including last year after playing through the issue for much of the 2018 campaign.
Newton has one year remaining on his contract, worth $19.1 million in 2020, but none of the figure is guaranteed, and the Panthers could release him or trade him to save $17.1 million against the cap.
He passed for 572 yards, no touchdowns and one interception this season. Overall, he has thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions in 125 games (124 starts). He also has rushed for 4,806 yards and 58 scores.
Newton was the NFL MVP in 2015 when he passed for 3,837 yards and a career-best 35 touchdowns while leading Carolina to the Super Bowl. He was intercepted 10 times and also rushed for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Kyle Allen has replaced Newton as the starter and has passed for 2,750 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 games.
The Panthers recently fired Ron Rivera, who had been the coach for Newton’s whole career.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)
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