While nostalgia can twist memories and give the past a warm, fuzzy hue, the Carolina Panthers’ decision to release Cam Newton two years ago was baffling from the moment the news was announced. The Panthers surely had their rationale for wanting to split up with the best quarterback in franchise history, but it’s hard to think those reasons were worth ending their union with Newton. Thankfully, the Panthers re-signed Newton this week, partially remedying their egregious blunder from two years ago.
Cam Newton And The Panthers Are Meant To Be Together
For the Panthers to bring back Newton in this fashion says more about them than him. Even though the former NFL MVP was out of the league for a few months and dealt with warranted criticism about his performance last season, Newton is a more talented player and provides more positive energy than Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold, his two successors. Also, keep in mind the total price the Panthers paid to acquire Bridgewater and Darnold: nearly $30 Million and three draft picks, with two of them being in the second and fourth rounds. Yikes!
Even considering his inconsistency and injury concerns, Newton is still better than a sizable portion of starting quarterbacks across the league because of his size and play-making ability; Newton places stress on defenses that aren’t necessarily reflected fully by a boxscore. Of course, you can't completely excuse Newton from how he performed last season with the New England Patriots (He threw eight passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 15 games), but observe his supporting cast and circumstances: he had an inexperienced receiving corps and no offseason to establish chemistry with them.
Despite this difficult situation, Newton produced his fair share of plays and consistently gave the Patriots a chance to win—if you think Newton is washed, his Week Two performance against Seattle last year is strong evidence to the contrary, as Newton threw for 397 yards and scored three total touchdowns in a last-second 35-30 loss. Predictably, despite his struggles as a passer last year, Newton still proved to be effective as a runner via his 592 rushing yards (second on the team) and 12 touchdowns (most on the team and fourth-most across the entire NFL).
The fact that Newton remained relatively productive while receiving next to no help from his supporting cast should be a reminder that he’s still worthy of the Superman nickname he earned in his first stint with the Panthers. Sure, circumstances and coaching staffs have changed since Newton was last in Charlotte, but if anybody is going to hold the fort down at quarterback as the Panthers start their new era and find some answers, shouldn’t it be Newton?
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