Cam Newton's Future

Is his time in Carolina done? 

Jim Rome
November 06, 2019 - 12:07 pm
Cam Newton

USA Today

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The Carolina Panthers announced that Cam Newton is going on injured reserve, which ends his season. And ends the debate over whether he’ll take over as starting quarterback when he’s healthy this season. And pretty much ends his time in Carolina.

Bam.

You can insert your overplayed line about life coming at you fast, but in the NFL, life comes at you with a 4.2 40 and it hits like a freight train when it gets there.

Because at this point, it would be more surprising if Cam Newton hadn’t played his last down for Carolina than if he had. It would be more surprising if he was back next year with the Panthers next year than if he wasn’t.

And that feels completely and utterly insane to say. Every since he was drafted, he’s been the face of this team. And now he’s done for the year and quite possibly for good in Carolina.

At 30 years old.

If we go back to 2015, when he was Superman, the league MVP, and leading the team to the Super Bowl, what would you have said if I told you he’d only play one more full season in Carolina? You’d call me a liar. Or an idiot. Or both.

And what if I’d told you that by November of 2019, Cam Newton would be done in Carolina and Andrew Luck would be done with football?

Because that’s what happened. Two of the biggest, toughest, and most physical quarterbacks you will ever see, and all the hits caught up to them.

Back in 2015, Cam Newton was 26 years old and indestructible. He was the guy you could not stop. He could carve you up through the air and run over you on the ground. Not just run over you, he could run through you and run around you. And then drop the Superman reveal in the end zone.

Now he’s 30 years old, on injured reserve, dealing with a second major injury in two seasons, and likely headed for a new team.

In hindsight, maybe it was a mistake for Newton to fight through shoulder pain last year and maybe it was a mistake not to talk about his foot injury this year before he did. Because he took a ton of crap from fans for fighting through both those injuries for the Panthers. And now there is a very good chance he’s done.  

He has one year left on his contract, but he’s also been hit more times than any other quarterback since 2011. He’s had two shoulder surgeries and now a foot injury that will cost him 14 games.

And the Panthers would save more than 19 million dollars by cutting him before next year.

Kyle Allen has played well in his absence, the team is going to have to pay Christian McCaffrey and a bunch of starters on defense.

In other words, there are so many more reasons to cut him than to keep him. It’s a business. And it can be a really cold and really cruel one in the end.

And that is wild. 30 years old and done in Carolina.

How weird will it be to see the Panthers without Cam Newton? And how much weirder will it be to see Chicago Bear Cam Newton?

If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s the same lesson that should’ve been learned with Andrew Luck – nobody is indestructible in this league. I don’t care how big and how tough you are, I don’t care how badly you want to be out there on the field with your teammates, or how much pain you can play through, this game comes for everyone at some point.

I’m looking at you, Kansas City. I’m calling you out, Houston. I’m thinking of any team who thinks they have their quarterback – you better protect them, from the opponents and from themselves.

And it is all the more reason why if you’re Kansas City, you better not rush Patrick Mahomes back. Or if you’re Houston, the only thing that matters is keeping Deshaun Watson safe.

If you have a franchise quarterback, you have a chance. And you can have that chance for a decade or more. If you take care of him, he will take care of you. But if you keep rolling him out there to be a tackling dummy, it will end much earlier than it should.

Nobody is indestructible. Nobody.