Could Cam Newton steer Deshaun Watson away from the Panthers?

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton and Deshaun Watson
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton and Deshaun Watson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton /

The Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton

After a glittering career with the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton was ruthlessly released late in the 2020 free agency period that left little in the way of starting opportunities elsewhere. Considering everything that the former No. 1 overall selection out of Auburn gave the organization for almost a decade, he deserved better and the player’s treatment left plenty of bitterness from all parties involved.

Newton did find another avenue to becoming a day one starter with the New England Patriots. But this was arguably the worst-case scenario given the lack of weapons in the passing game and a wealth of opt-outs on defense due to COVID-19.

It doesn’t look good for Newton regarding an extended stay under Bill Belichick, which is probably fine by him. However, another trip to the free-agent scrapheap would probably mean having to settle for a backup role this time around.

The Panthers can take their fair share of the blame for this and should have released Newton almost immediately after they signed Teddy Bridgewater. Stringing him along even when he was medically cleared to make a return wasn’t the smartest idea in the world and large sections of the team’s fanbase are still outraged by the way this situation was dealt with by the powers that be.

Whether this has an impact on Deshaun Watson’s decision if the Panthers do hit the jackpot and strike a deal for the quarterback remains to be seen. But it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked.