Cam Newton Rumors: Panthers' Interest Depends on Backup QB Role, Smaller Salary

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 24, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 26: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass during the first half of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers are "open" to bringing back Cam Newton in 2022 under the right circumstances, according to Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer.

"He would not enter camp as the starter, and would have to agree to a smaller salary," Alexander reported.

Newton signed a one-year deal with the Panthers last November worth up to $10 million, including $4.5 million guaranteed. The veteran joined the team after Sam Darnold suffered a shoulder injury, giving him a chance to earn a starting job.

In eight appearances, Newton finished with 684 passing yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions, along with five rushing touchdowns. The Panthers lost all five of his starts. 

The 2015 NFL MVP has struggled throughout the past three seasons with the Panthers and New England Patriots, producing a 77.1 quarterback rating in 25 games with 12 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. 

Carolina needs help at the position after finishing 5-12 with the No. 29 scoring offense in the league, also ranking 29th in passing yards.

Darnold remains on the roster with a guaranteed $18.9 million salary for 2022, via Spotrac, but he wasn't much better with the Panthers last year. The former New York Jets quarterback finished 2021 with nine touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 33.2 QBR that ranked third-worst among qualified players. 

Matt Corral may be the team's future at quarterback, although the 2022 third-round draft pick might not be ready to compete in Week 1.

Newton could be another option on the depth chart, but the Panthers shouldn't expect the three-time Pro Bowler to revert to his previous form.