"It is well documented and well researched that overhead throwing athletes commonly have wear and tear to their rotator cuffs," Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a statement. "As a result of the MRI, we modified all of Cam's work in the weight room and on the field for the final three weeks of the season."
Newton, 27, suffered the injury in a Week 14 game against the San Diego Chargers. He threw five interceptions against four touchdowns in the season's final three games and failed to reach 60 percent completions in any contest.
The Panthers expect Newton back for training camp.
“The thing we need to stay away from the most is throwing, but he will start immediately with range of motion and rotator cuff exercises,” Vermillion said. “The positive thing, unlike when he had ankle surgery, is that he will still be able to work on his conditioning, work on his core, work on the rest of his body.
“Twelve weeks following surgery, Cam will begin an early throwing program with me. If he progresses well he will start throwing with the team at 16 weeks after surgery and we’ll go from there. Our goal is to have him back at the start of training camp.”
Coming off an MVP season in 2015, Newton had his worst pro season in 2016. He finished with 3,509 yards and 19 touchdowns against 14 interceptions through the air, setting a career low in passer rating (75.8). His 359 rushing yards were also 200 fewer than he had produced in any previous season.
The Panthers went from Super Bowl runners-up to a 6-10 record and last place in the NFC South.