Cam Newton will meet with quarterback-needy Carolina Panthers

Newton, 32, is a free agent and has been looking for a home since the New England Patriots released him in August.
Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) celebrates a Panthers touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals...
Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) celebrates a Panthers touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:13 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, owner David Tepper and Steven Drummond, the vice president of football operations, plan to meet with former Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton Thursday, according to three sources with knowledge of the situation.

Newton, 32, is a free agent and has been looking for a home since the New England Patriots released him in August.

The Panthers are in need of another quarterback. Additional testing on starting quarterback Sam Darnold’s shoulder Tuesday revealed he had an incomplete fracture in his right shoulder blade.

The team believes he suffered the injury in the second quarter of the Panthers’ game against the Patriots on Sunday. It was a separate injury from the one he suffered against the Falcons, two weeks ago. Backup quarterback P.J. Walker is expected to start and veteran Matt Barkley will back him up.

Neither quarterback has had much success in their NFL careers. Walker won his lone start in 2020 against the Detroit Lions 20-0, but also threw two interceptions. Barkley has thrown 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in his seven-year career.

Rhule said Wednesday that the Panthers would explore “any and all options,” in regards to potentially signing a quarterback.

When asked if they had reached out or planned to reach out to Newton, Rhule did not say.

“I won’t get into any hypotheticals,” Rhule said. “Our job is to try to win, so we’re going to evaluate and talk to whatever we think is possibly out there.”

The Panthers drafted Newton first overall in the 2011 NFL draft. He spent nine seasons with the franchise before releasing him prior to the 2020 season.

The Panthers tried to trade him but were unsuccessful, so he was released to save money against the salary cap.

Newton is one of the best players in franchise history and certainly had the most impact. He won the 2015 NFL MVP award and led the franchise to its second Super Bowl in team history. During the 2015 season, the Panthers finished the regular season 15-1. Newton threw 35 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and ran for 10 touchdowns.

But he struggled with injuries in his final two seasons with the team. He played in only the first two games of the 2019 regular season after suffering a Lisfranc injury to his foot in the team’s third preseason game.

In nine seasons with the Panthers, Newton threw for 29,041 yards, 182 passing touchdowns and 111 interceptions.

After being released by the Panthers, Newton signed with the Patriots. He started in 15 games and ran for 12 touchdowns, but struggled throwing the ball. He passed for eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.

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