Sport: Cam Newton's trip to IR forces Panthers to confront three questions sooner than expected - - PressFrom - US

Sport Cam Newton's trip to IR forces Panthers to confront three questions sooner than expected

21:27  05 november  2019
21:27  05 november  2019 Source:

Cam Newton once again remains out, Kyle Allen to start vs. 49ers in Week 8

  Cam Newton once again remains out, Kyle Allen to start vs. 49ers in Week 8 For what it’s worth, it remains to be seen if Newton even would be the starter if he were healthy enough to play. The Panthers lost both games Newton started this season, and Carolina is undefeated since Allen has taken over the offense. However, this next week provides a whole new challenge. The 49ers feature one of the NFL’s most dominant defenses — a unit that gets after the quarterback, creates turnovers and that has allowed a grand total of 10 points in its last three games combined.

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Following a loss to the Buccaneers early this season, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said it was time to do "some real soul searching" because he simply wasn't performing at a high enough level. Two months after those pointed comments, it's clear the soul searching must go beyond the guy in Charlotte wearing the No. 1 jersey.

The Panthers on Tuesday confirmed speculation, placing Newton on injured reserve while dealing with a Lisfranc injury. Though surgery is not being considered, the 2011 No. 1 overall pick will now miss the rest of the regular season.

Cam Newton “still rehabbing” injured foot

  Cam Newton “still rehabbing” injured foot Earlier this season, Panthers coach Ron Rivera threw the most polite hissy fit ever, walking out of a press conference when he grew tired of being asked questions about Cam Newton‘s injured foot. After the Panthers took a 51-13 thrashing from the 49ers, Rivera apparently wasn’t in a mood to continue that conversation. Newton’s still [more]After the Panthers took a 51-13 thrashing from the 49ers, Rivera apparently wasn’t in a mood to continue that conversation.

Coupled with Christian McCaffrey, Allen, who's 5-1 as Carolina's starter, could be good enough to keep the Panthers competitive in the NFC playoff race. However, Allen's success and Newton's health status also bring questions about the franchise's long-term strategy to the forefront.

NFL POWER RANKINGS: Panthers slide up after Week 9 win

How will Panthers handle Cam Newton's future?

Newton is not the same player who won the NFL MVP award in 2015. In his two outings this season prior to being sidelined by the foot injury, he failed to throw or run for a touchdown and completed 56.2 percent of his passes. He rushed only five times for negative yardage, a telling stat for a dual-threat quarterback who has averaged more than five yards per carry throughout his career.

Panthers to start Kyle Allen over Cam Newton in Week 9

  Panthers to start Kyle Allen over Cam Newton in Week 9 Kyle Allen is going to get another chance to start for the Carolina Panthers coming off a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

While Rivera and the Panthers didn't want to admit it in the moment, Newton was obviously limited physically. The Bucs dared Newton to beat them with his arm, but he was wildly inaccurate. He didn't take off down the field and stiff-arm defenders. He wasn't 100 percent — or even close to it.

Now Carolina is left wondering if nearly a decade of games, 3,980 pass attempts and 934 carries have taken their toll. However, there is a more prominent issue than Newton's sudden drop-off that could eventually end his time with the Panthers. As is often the case in the NFL, it's all about the money.

It would be a drastic step, but moving on from Newton's contract wouldn't be that painful financially. Newton is due to make more than $18 million in base salary next season — the final year on his current deal — and count for $21.1 million against the team's salary cap. If the Panthers decided to release Newton, though, the dead cap hit would count for just $2 million in 2020 while saving Carolina $19 million to allocate for other gaps in the roster.

Panthers G.M.: Newton needs to “gather more information”

  Panthers G.M.: Newton needs to “gather more information” With injured quarterback Cam Newton seeing a foot specialist today, the Panthers seem to be at a loss for answers as well. The team put out a statement acknowledging his trip to Green Bay to see foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson (their former team doctor). “I spent a long time speaking with Cam this week and he’s done everything he possibly can in his rehab process to get his foot to 100 percent,” General Manager Marty Hurney said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t reached that point. The next step is for him to go see Dr. Anderson and gather more information.

If the Panthers want to rebuild, the first step would be handing over the reins to another QB, whether that's Allen or an outside target, and redistributing the money saved to multiple positions. But a massive shift under center would send ripple effects throughout the organization, starting with the man in charge on the sideline.

Is Ron Rivera attached to Cam Newton?

Rivera became coach of the Panthers in 2011, the same year Newton entered the league. In the short history of the franchise, Rivera owns the best winning percentage of any Carolina coach, including a 15-1 record and Super Bowl berth in 2015, Newton's MVP season.

There have undoubtedly been several highs throughout Rivera's tenure, but year-to-year consistency has been elusive. From 2011-18, the Panthers made four playoff appearances, but they also finished with seven or fewer wins in the regular season five times. Just last season, Carolina started 6-2 only to finish 7-9 overall.

Aside from their on-field accomplishments, Rivera and Newton are linked by their contracts. Rivera signed an extension in 2018 to keep him in his current role through 2020, but that deal came on the heels of an 11-5 season and a few months before new Panthers owner David Tepper took over. Rivera's future, like Newton's, is far from secure.

Report: Cam Newton out several more weeks, may go on injured reserve

  Report: Cam Newton out several more weeks, may go on injured reserve Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appears to be a long way from returning. Newton’s latest evaluation with a foot specialist revealed that he needs rest, not surgery, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. That sounds like good news, but the rest will take several weeks, and Newton may go on injured reserve. Realistically, even if the [more]

There are risks in letting go of a two-time coach of the year, of course. Carolina could easily fall back into irrelevance without Rivera leading the way. All the Panthers have to do is look at an NFC South rival to see the benefits of holding onto a veteran coach. Following three consecutive 7-9 seasons from 2014-16, Sean Payton turned things around with the Saints, going 11-5 in 2017 and 13-3 in 2018, respectively.

Perhaps Rivera will take advantage of his opportunity with Allen. The "will he or won't he" speculation with Newton has been (temporarily) eliminated, so Rivera can focus on tailoring the game plan to Allen's strengths. That would continue to separate Rivera from Newton.

And yet, no matter what happens this season with Rivera and Newton, the biggest factor in the Panthers' future could be someone who never touches a football or calls a play.

Does David Tepper want to clean house?

When Tepper purchased the Panthers for an NFL-record $2.275 billion in July of 2018, he said the top priority is winning, so it's no surprise he wasn't thrilled with how Carolina's 2018 campaign ended.

The Panthers dropped seven of their last eight games, defeating the Saints in a meaningless Week 17 game to avoid an 0-8 second half of the season. Those losses reportedly frustrated Tepper and made him consider major organizational changes in December. He became concerned with the lack of analytics usage and the franchise's old school methods, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.

Where will Cam Newton play in 2020? Ranking the 7 best fits, from Panthers to Dolphins

  Where will Cam Newton play in 2020? Ranking the 7 best fits, from Panthers to Dolphins Carolina is still the best home for a healthy Cam Newton in 2020. But should the Panthers move on from their expensive franchise QB, there are a few landing spots that make sense, from the Dolphins to the Bears.Newton can make a total of $21.1 million next season in base salary and bonuses, but Carolina officials, if they so choose, can cut him to save $19.1 million against the 2020 salary cap while eating only $2 million in dead money. The greater possibility is a trade, where the Panthers can move on with the same type of savings, only with a little draft pick compensation in return.

That old school label can certainly be applied to Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney, who replaced Dave Gettleman as the interim GM in 2017 before taking over full time in February of 2018. (This is Hurney's second stint as GM after holding the same position from 2002-2012.) Hurney hasn't been terrible in handling personnel responsibilities, but his job performance hasn't been incredibly inspiring, either.

Newton's injury could trigger those changes Tepper apparently considered last year. The quarterback, the coach, the general manager — the opening is there if Tepper wants to put his stamp on Carolina football. He avoided the new owner syndrome initially, but is he now ready to put "his guys" in charge of the operation?

It all comes back to the three-time Pro Bowler who has been the face of the Panthers since he emerged from Auburn and made Carolina matter on a national scale. There is no time to waste. The soul searching starts now.

Panthers QB Cam Newton would reportedly welcome trade to Bears .
Not only would the Bears offer Newton a fresh start, but Matt Nagy seems like the right coach to successfully resurrect Newton’s career. Either way, Chicago has to do something about the quarterback position, and trading for Newton might be the answer.

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