August 22nd was supposed to be Cam Newton‘s preseason debut but after just the third drive, he was quickly removed after sustaining a sprain to his left foot. The Carolina Panthers are hopeful he will be ready week one, according to Cat Crave’s Danny Jaillet. Still, he’s entering his ninth season as the Panthers’ quarterback and is nearing the end of his contract. Becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2021 leaves fans wondering what’s next for Cam Newton? This article will examine it.
What’s Next for Cam Newton?
He Could Sustain Further Injury
Newton getting injured during the third preseason game was not at the top of the quarterback’s list but some things can’t be avoided. His offensive line didn’t really do much to make sure he was protected, which was obvious from the amount of running he did while he was on the field. One thing the team will have to do a better job at, is making sure they protect him up front. Or what’s next for Newton will be him sitting out on the sidelines once again, nursing another injury.
Of the active quarterbacks currently still in the league, Newton is the twelfth most sacked in the league. In 2015, ESPN’s Terry Blount said Newton took more hits than any other quarterback since he’d entered the league. That number? 587. In second place–Russell Wilson. His number? 317. That’s a difference of 270 hits between first and second place. Granted, Newton is a mobile quarterback who stands at 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 245 pounds. And if he doesn’t get tackled he’s liable to score. Still, he’s taking a ton of hits.
Could He Retire?
Andrew Luck, who was picked as the number-one quarterback in the AFC South heading into the 2019 season, announced Aug 24 that he was retiring from the NFL. He only played seven seasons in the league but had sustained signifcant injury during his time with Indianapolis Colts. Of those injuries was a lacerated kidney that left him urinating blood. What’s next for Newton if he continues to suffer injuries as he has, could likely be an early retirement like Luck. He’s already 30 years old and has been a very physical player up to this point. Even when he was at Auburn, he played a very physical, carry-the-team-on-his-back type football. He will not be able to sustain if he continues to play this way.
The difference between Luck in Newton, however, is that Luck’s family has money (after all, his dad is named Commissioner and CEO of the XFL, according to Bleacher Report) while Newton’s family depend on his success.
The big problem is that it isn’t just his offensive line not protecting him, but also his tight ends and running backs not necessarily getting good blocks for him. There were plenty of instances in that preseason game where people were missing blocks or just being overpowered. Christian McCaffrey was a great pickup for the Panthers, production-wise but he may not have the size to give Newton the quality blocks he needs.
If the offensive line can improve, what’s next for Newton could be another NFC South title.
Newton is an essential part of the Panthers’ offense. It would be easy to say he should be replaced because he continues to get hurt. But the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter who is put at the quarterback position if nothing is being done to protect him. If fans want to see Newton for at least another five years, they have to hope that the franchise will do some things in the draft to assure he stays safe.
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