Cam Newton – Former Carolina Panthers QB
Cam Newton helped drive the Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos in an MVP campaign that will long be remembered in franchise history. The quarterback had the team in playoff contention during his prime years, which almost resulted in the organization securing an elusive first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Auburn product pushed the team into relevance. Even when Carolina hovered around .500 they were exciting to watch on offense simply because of Newton.
The Panthers leaned on Newton’s ability to make plays, allowing him to take the punishment for years without building the offensive line or weapons groups such a player deserved. Instead, they relied on his explosive ability to run through tackles and shrug off hits.
While this strategy worked for a time, it took a toll on Newton. As soon as that became obvious, the team opted to move on at the position and push the signal-caller out of Carolina.
Instead of building a roster around one of the most unique individuals that the league has ever seen to protect his longevity, the Panthers put themselves on his shoulders until he could no longer carry them.
Nearly three years after deciding to move on from Newton, the Panthers once again turned to him in desperation after Sam Darnold’s injury before their Week 10 game at the Arizona Cardinals. They did this in the middle of the season, throwing Newton into the fire without curtailing the offense to the type of plays he runs best.
After Newton unsurprisingly struggled, the Panthers parted ways with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. This threw yet another wrench in his comeback attempt.
This is a situation that really speaks to Newton’s time in Carolina and a franchise that could have made far better use of one of the most unique quarterbacks to ever grace the NFL.