Cam Newton Trade Rumors: Matt Rhule, Panthers 'Likely' to Shop QB Amid Rebuild

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off the field following the Panthers 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Cam Newton has been the franchise quarterback for the Carolina Panthers since they selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft, but the team may move him this offseason.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggested the Panthers are "probably headed toward much more of a rebuild than we first realized when they hired head coach Matt Rhule" and will "likely" explore trading Newton as a result.

Rapoport did note much of the potential trade talk will hinge on Newton's health and how his surgically repaired foot responds as the offseason continues.

Carolina has already undergone a number of drastic changes this offseason. It parted ways with veteran tight end Greg Olsen, star linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement, and the team chose Rhule from the collegiate ranks as the one to replace the fired Ron Rivera.

The rebuild is already underway following a 5-11 season, and Newton's health after he played just two games in 2019 and how that, along with his age (turns 31 years old in May), impacts his ability to beat defenses as a dual-threat playmaker makes him a natural trade candidate for a team that could receive a notable package in return from a quarterback-hungry squad.

Rapoport pointed to the Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as possible trade partners.

Whichever team traded for Newton would land one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in recent memory. He is a three-time Pro Bowler with a league MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year on his resume. He also led the Panthers to the Super Bowl during the 2015 campaign and playoffs four times in a five-year stretch from 2013 through 2017.

Newton isn't far removed from a solid showing in 2018 when he completed 67.9 percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while adding 488 yards and four scores on the ground.

It would be somewhat jarring for NFL fans to see Newton in a different uniform after he led the Panthers to so much success, but the NFC South team is apparently facing a notable rebuild and may head in a different direction.

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