Carolina Panthers quarterback Cameron Newton has been officially placed on injured reserve (IR), likely ending his season and time in Charlotte.
“For the past seven weeks, Cam has diligently followed a program of rest and rehab and still is experiencing pain in his foot,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement on Tuesday. “He saw two foot specialists last week who agreed that he should continue that path prescribed by the team’s medical staff, and that it likely will take significant time for the injury to fully heal.”
Hurney then called the 2015 league MVP “one of the fiercest competitors” he’s worked with in his more than two decade tenure in the league.
“We have said all along that it is impossible to put a timetable on this injury. Nobody is more frustrated with that fact than Cam. He’s one of the fiercest competitors I’ve been around during my 20-plus years in the League. At this time, we have decided that the best decision to reach the goal of bringing the foot back to 100 percent is to place Cam on injured reserve.”
Newton Has Been Missing in Action Since Week 2
Newton had been sidelined from play since Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season with a foot injury, when Carolina lost at home 20-14 against divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 2010 Heisman winner went 0-2 to begin the season, completing 50-of-89 passes for 572 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Newton picked up that sprain in the Panthers’ third preseason game against the New England Patriots.
Newton’s back-up, Kyle Allen, resurrected the team to a current 5-3 record, trailing only the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South standings. In just his sophomore year at Bank of America Stadium, Allen has recorded 1,291 passing yards and nine touchdowns this season.
This foot injury is the latest in a string of others that have plagued the former Auburn Tiger. Newton had rotator cuff surgery on his throwing shoulder in 2017, suffered a knee strain with ligament and cartilage damage and another shoulder surgery on the same throwing arm just last year.
Could the Panthers Eventually Offload Newton in a Trade?
With Allen finding his groove in such a tough division, there’s a chance Newton may not return from IR suiting up for the same team that drafted him first overall in 2011. Plenty of NFL teams need quarterbacks right now, with the Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers high on that list.
Given that the Denver Broncos also put quarterback Joe Flacco on IR, it’s likely they’ll need someone with considerable experience to lead the team back to dominance. However, there are a myriad of reasons why general manager John Elway won’t push for Newton’s services, and it varies in available cap space to his reluctance in relinquishing star players.
“We’re trying to win football games,” Elway said last month. “So, no one from our side is on the trading block. We’re going to try to continue to win football games.”
Whether Newton stays in Charlotte or departs for another franchise once he fully recovers, let’s hope fans will be treated to the 2015 Cam Newton that led his team to a 15-1 regular season record and a trip to the Super Bowl.