Elite quarterbacks at the NFL level do not come around too often. It appears that Cam Newton has the skills to become one eventually, however. Prior to the draft many people criticized Newton’s lack of playing time in an NFL style offense, his mechanics, and accuracy. Many people, myself included, thought the Panthers might have been better off giving Jimmy Clausen one more crack under center and taking another player like Alabama’s stud defensive tackle, Marcell Dareus, Georgia’s play-making receiver, A.J. Green, or LSU’s all-world cornerback, Patrick Peterson. Through the first seven weeks on the NFL season, Newton is proving the analysts wrong and has perfected his recipe for southern-fried crow. To see what effect Cam Newton could possibly have on the future of the Carolina Panthers, continue to read.
NFL players with charisma and play-making ability can do wonders for a franchise, especially when that player’s position is quarterback. For the first time possibly ever, the Carolina Panthers have a player that can legitimately propel them into the national spotlight week after week. Newton’s historic year at Auburn that wrapped up with a BCS National Championship and a Heisman made him a household name. Even with all of his questions coming into the draft, no one could deny that Newton’s physical attributes and potential were through the roof. Though Newton is a dual-threat quarterback, his skill set is more reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger than Philadelphia’s Vince Young. Newton’s size helps make him a more durable player than other dual threat QBs, such as Mike Vick. If Newton’s development continues he could be the main reason that Charlotte’s favorite football team changes their luck which could end in multiple Super Bowl championships.
Panther Nation should not underestimate Newton’s attractiveness to potential free agents. In fact, it can be argued that the main reason Steve Smith decided not to request a trade was for the reason that he saw great potential in the Panthers’ young quarterback. Following the 2011 season receivers like Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson, Steve Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Maques Colston, Brandon Lloyd and Pierre Garcon will all be free agents. Carolina could use Newton as the main attraction in trying to convince star receivers to sign in Charlotte for the opportunity to play with the budding star. The Panthers also have other ties with Bowe (college teammates with Brandon LaFell), Jackson (ties to Rob Chudzinski and Ron Rivera), and Wayne (Players from ‘The U’ currently on the roster, ties to Chudzinski). It would be wise for the Panthers to at least explore the possibility of bringing in another top-notch receiver to help Newton’s development even more.
Newton will also certainly impact the Panthers’ draft plans. If Carolina is in a position to take an elite level receiver such as Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery, or Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, do they take that opportunity? Carolina could also choose to draft more insurance for Newton in the form of a talented offensive lineman like Southern Cal’s Matt Kalil (younger brother of Carolina center, Ryan Kalil), Stanford’s Jonathan Martin, or Iowa’s Riley Reiff.
Newton’s charisma and outgoing personality also makes him a very attractive player in the eyes of the media. Cam will most certainly rack up multiple endorsement deals which will help put Carolina’s logo and product out there for more people to see across the country. Additionally, Newton gives the Panthers much needed press in the world of television and internet coverage. Newton also generates interest in the greater NFL fandom world. During the first month of the season, Newton ranked 16th in jersey sales and was the only rookie to make the top 25. Newton’s sales topped players such as Phillip Rivers, Ray Lewis, Adrian Peterson, DeMarcus Ware, and Tim Tebow.
In short, Carolina has a special opportunity on their hands. The franchise needs to make major investments, both in coaching and in player personnel, to ensure that Cam Newton can develop into the very best quarterback he can be. The Carolina Panther fan-base needs to continue to rise up and support their young quarterback and use the excitement surrounding the team to recruit new fans to Panther Nation. Most importantly, Newton needs to continue to put in the extra work necessary to make himself one of the best players in the NFL. From what we have seen so far, there is no reason to believe that one day Newton will not reach that level.