Mon, Dec 9, 2019

The Panthers‘ decision to place Cam Newton on injured reserve last week didn’t just end his season, it’s also looking more and more like the move is going to end his career in Carolina. 

After the 2019 season, Newton will have only have one year left on his current contract, a deal that the Panthers could look to unload this offseason. The final year of Newton’s deal has a $21.1 million cap hit for Carolina, but the team can save a total of $19 million in cap space if they decide to cut him this offseason or trade him away (Since the trade deadline has passed, teams aren’t allowed to officially make any trades until free agency starts in March). 

If the Panthers decide they want to deal him away, it appears Newton would be open to that option, but only to the right team. Unlike Eli Manning, Newton doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, but it wouldn’t make much sense for the Panthers to deal him to a team he doesn’t want to play for. According to NFL.com, Newton would welcome a trade to Chicago if the Bears end up being in the market for a quarterback, which is no guarantee. 

Like the Panthers, the Bears are also at a crossroads with their quarterback situation. The team has been rolling with Mitchell Trubisky, who has taken the brunt of the blame for the Bears’ struggles this year. Although he hasn’t been horrible, Trubisky has definitely been below average, and he simply hasn’t lived up to the hype that comes with being the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft, which is where the Bears selected him in 2017. 

Once the 2019 season is over, the Bears will have had a total of three years to assess Trubisky, which is more than enough time for them to decide if he should be their quarterback of the future. If the Bears are ready to move on, then it would absolutely make sense for them to give the Panthers a call about Cam Newton. 

Newton’s base salary for 2020 is a very manageable $18.6 million, which is a borderline steal for a starting quarterback in the NFL. That number should make him easier to trade, whether that deal ends up sending him to Chicago or to another quarterback-needy team like the Titans, Chargers, Buccaneers, Dolphins or Broncos (Just as a refresher: The Titans are likely done with Marcus Mariota, Philip Rivers is in the final year of his deal, Jameis Winston’s contract is expiring after this season, the Dolphins have done such a bad job of tanking that they might not get a high enough draft pick to land a top QB and the Broncos situation is a perpetual disaster). 

If Newton does get dealt, his new team could use the 2020 season as a test run, and if he plays well, that would obviously lead to a big extension. Of course, before Newton potentially gets dealt, teams around the NFL are going to want to make sure that he’s healthy. 

Newton has been dealing with a foot injury for nearly the entire season, and according to NFL.com, he’s now considering surgery with the hopes that he’ll be healthy by March, which is when the Panthers would officially be allowed to trade him. 

Once the offseason gets here, Newton and the Panthers are basically going to have four options when it comes to the quarterback’s future, including a trade. Will Brinson recently broke down each of those four options, and you can check that out by clicking here

No matter what happens, it’s going to be an interesting offseason in Carolina. 

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