How likely is a Carolina Panthers return for quarterback Cam Newton before the team heads to Spartanburg for 2022 training camp?
For all the talk about another potential quarterback acquisition before their 2022 training camp, nothing has emerged for the Carolina Panthers so far. Talks are reportedly continuing with the Cleveland Browns regarding Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo remains an option, and the team has also refused to rule out another go-around for Cam Newton if the situation is right for all parties.
Newton made a sensational return to the franchise midway through the 2021 season. It looked like he could be the spark needed after inspiring the Panthers to a superb win at the Arizona Cardinals, who had one of the league’s best records at the time.
Sadly, this didn’t materialize. Newton struggled to make an impact during a difficult situation and there are now concerns about whether or not the iconic signal-caller still has what it takes to be a starter.
The former Auburn standout still believes he is among the top 32 quarterbacks in the league. But the NFL moves on quickly and the fact Newton is still looking for employment means most teams don’t have the same opinion.
Newton’s big personality makes it difficult for any team to bring him on board as a backup option. And in truth, this would be a tough watch for such a transcendent talent at the peak of his powers.
General manager Scott Fitterer stated that the lines of communication remain open between the Panthers and Newton for a potential return. This would be a popular move with large sections of the fanbase and it could provide additional competition for Sam Darnold, whose time as the undisputed No. 1 is hanging by a thread.
Adding Newton would also benefit Matt Corral considerably. What better way for the third-round selection to find out what it takes to make the very top than by leaning on someone who’s been there and done that.
Cam Newton’s return to the Carolina Panthers in 2022 is unlikely
Although the romance of Newton’s return cannot be overlooked, it does seem unlikely. The Panthers are looking at alternative options and if the Heisman Trophy winner and 2015 NFL MVP cannot get assurances about fair competition, then it’s unlikely he’d be willing to risk tarnishing his reputation within the organization.
If the Panthers do end up acquiring Mayfield before training camp, then re-signing Newton goes from unlikely to a non-starter. Something that would almost certainly bring an end to his long-standing history with the franchise.
Newton’s place in Carolina folklore will live through the ages. A man who came in with the biggest expectations and somehow surpassed them en route to becoming the face of the NFL for a brief period.
Perhaps Newton would be a huge upgrade on Darnold with a full offseason under his belt. But the Panthers have too much on the line next season to gamble on such an eventuality perhaps coming to fruition.
Whether Mayfield or Garoppolo are better options is the big question. One we won’t have to wait much longer to find out with Spartanburg on the immediate horizon.
As for Newton, his legacy is secured. He also has plenty going on away from the gridiron to keep him busy if another team doesn’t come calling.
And make no mistake, nobody should ever wear No. 1 again.