Should the Panthers Re-sign Cam Newton?

The Carolina Panthers will have a tough decision to make in the next year and half deciding whether to re-sign franchise QB Cam Newton. This season has seen the former first overall pick struggle which raises the question of whether or not Newton is a franchise quarterback.

If the decision to re-sign him was based on this season alone, this wouldn’t be a question. Newton is currently in one of his worst slumps of his professional career. This is where he ranks among NFL quarterbacks this season:

 

Total

NFL Rank

Completion Pct.

58.6

28th

Passing Yards

2,392

14th

Passing TDs

12

19th

Interceptions

10

4th

QB Rating

80.3

27th

 

                                                                                                                            

These are certainly not numbers worthy of what would be expected to be one of the top contracts at the position to keep Newton in Charlotte. However there are plenty of reasons to justify the poor performance ranging anywhere from a horrible offensive line to a non-existent running game to minimal weapons in the passing game. In 2014, Newton has not had much help around him and this is why his numbers have struggled.

Prior to this season has been a different story. The Panthers quarterback has put up some impressive numbers and has been recognized with the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2011 and two Pro Bowl appearances. He also led the Panthers to a NFC South title and playoff berth in 2013.

The up and down career of Newton to this point is the reason the question is even being asked. It is always easy to say he isn’t worth the money and the Panthers should move on. The question that is rarely asked though is who is available to replace him?

If the Panthers don’t feel Cam Newton is worth the big contract or is capable of leading this team to a Super Bowl, they need to start now trying to find his replacement. These are the quarterbacks who have contracts expiring in the next two seasons:

After 2014 Season

Name

Completion Pct.

Passing Yards

Passing TDs

Interceptions

QB Rating

Mark Sanchez

59.2

880

6

4

90.3

Jake Locker

58

764

4

4

75.9

Brian Hoyer

55.7

2542

11

5

86

Ryan Mallett

66.7

211

2

1

95.3

           

After 2015 Season

Name

Completion Pct.

Passing Yards

Passing TDs

Interceptions

QB Rating

Eli Manning

61.2

2495

18

11

85.4

Ben Roethlisberger

68.3

3270

24

6

105.3

Philip Rivers

66.8

2544

21

8

101.2

Andrew Luck

63.2

3388

28

10

99.4

Robert Griffin III

72

763

2

3

88

Ryan Tannehill

65.4

2354

17

7

92.2

*Contract Status courtesy of Spotrac.com

Next offseason looks pretty weak at the quarterback position with two former first round picks turned back-ups (Sanchez and Locker) and two journeymen quarterbacks (Hoyer and Mallett). None of those four players bring anything to the table that Newton already doesn’t. So it would be safe to assume that Newton will be the Panthers starting quarterback in 2015 and the Panthers will wait until after the 2015 season.

The following offseason is where things could get very interesting with a number of big name players available at the position. There are two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger and two quarterbacks who have put up impressive statistics in Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck but minimal postseason success.

Of those four players mentioned it would be hard to see three of them leaving their current situation (Manning, Roethlisberger, and Luck). However Rivers would be the most intriguing option, considering he played his college football a few hours from Charlotte at NC State.

If the Panthers do decide to go in another direction, there is certainly some options but are any of them really better than Cam Newton?

In 2011, the Carolina Panthers drafted Newton to be the face of the franchise and to let him walk after only four seasons, with one playoff appearance, seems to be a waste. Cam Newton has already proven he can play at a high level with the right support around him and the Panthers should focus on re-signing the quarterback before he can get to the open market.


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