CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) — Well, the Carolina Panthers’ season is virtually over and it looks like they are already planning ahead for the future.
Reports say the team may look to trade quarterback Cam Newton this offseason. But he won’t come cheap as insiders believe the Panthers are looking for a “significant return”.
Newton is set to have foot surgery to alleviate his Lisfranc injury. The ailment has cost Newton his season along with possibly the only head coach he’s ever played for in the NFL, Ron Rivera.
With Newton scheduled to pull in a $18.6 million base salary along with his contract counting as a $21.1 million cap hit, the Panthers may think it’s time to look for cheaper options on a team that clearly has holes to fill.
Quite frankly, $18.6 million isn’t breaking the bank for a quarterback in today’s NFL, so if Newton can come back and reclaim some earlier career magic he’s definitely worth keeping around.
However, the expectation is that the Panthers will attempt to trade Newton in the offseason — only if it’s worth it.
If he hits the open market, he’ll compete for the big bucks among other impending free-agent quarterbacks which include Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Phillip Rivers. Newton, 30, which is much younger than those guys — may be the crown jewel for a team looking for a long-term, established option.
Incumbent starter Kyle Allen has shown flashes of a high-level starter while also looking like someone who should just be a backup. Rookie third-round QB Will Grier has played sparingly and we don’t know yet what he truly brings to the table, so the Panthers are faced with a dilemma.
Typically, in new regimes in the NFL, new quarterbacks and personnel come in to fit the general manager and owner’s preference. The Panthers are in the midst of such since firing Ron Rivera and finding a quarterback that fits the mold of what owner David Tepper and general manager Marty Hurney prefers could be next.
So what would the price be for Newton?
Most recently, the Kansas City Chiefs sent QB Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for a third-round pick and starting cornerback Kendall Fuller. Joe Flacco was sent from the Baltimore Ravens to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a fourth-rounder.
Both Smith and Flacco, along with other quarterbacks who were recently traded, are not as nearly as talented as Cam Newton.
The price for another team could be a key defensive player, maybe a linebacker or cornerback along with a draft pick or two — possibly no lower than a second-rounder. Depending on who the player is in the trade, the return could be a major win for the Panthers.
For now, though, speculation will continue as to what the Panthers will do with Cam Newton. However it goes down, the Panthers can’t come out of this empty-handed.
Newton either has to be traded or kept for yet another season/resigned.
These next few months are very important for the Panthers and any move may pre-determine the team’s fate for next season.
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