The Panthers fell out of the playoff race on Monday night after a tough fought loss to the Saints. It’s been clear for a few weeks now that star quarterback Cam Newton hasn’t been 100% fit and was confirmed by the player himself who said that treatment and pain killers hadn’t worked and that no one knew what the issue was with his throwing arm. Worrying times for the Panthers team and fans and subsequently, with little else to play for, the Panthers have shit down Newton for the rest of the season.
Shoulder injuries in quarterbacks of course aren’t uncommon given the nature of the job. What is worrying is the lack of knowledge of what the issue with Newton’s shoulder currently is. The decision to shut him down now effectively gives the medical team two extra weeks to investigate, diagnose and start fixing the issue. Whether that requires rest and intense physiotherapy or surgery, it’s two extra weeks before the start of pre-season next year.Embed from Getty Images
Why are we looking so far forward? Well, shoulder injuries can also be unpredictable in terms of recovery period. The most recent example being Andrew Luck who more or less missed two full seasons. When he did come back this year, there were still question marks over how effective he’d be. Even after a few games when Jacoby Brissett replaced him at the end of a game early on in the year to throw a Hail Mary pass, the questions continued. Like I said, this should be anxious times for the Panthers organisation and fans.
It will also of course be an anxious time for Cam Newton himself. Not only abut whether he’ll be able to get back to his best but also his future earning potential. His current deal runs until the end of 2020, making 2019 a key year for the Panthers as to whether extend his deal. Newton is currently making circa $20m a year on his current deal. And he’s been worth the investment with a Super Bowl appearance and a league MVP award in 2015. The thing to consider is that the 2016 MVP (Matt Ryan) is now in the $30m a year bracket. Will the Panthers want to fork out that sort of money for Cam if he’s not 100%? Time will tell.
I genuinely hope that he does come back fully fit and back in form as he is one of the more exciting players to watch in the league. It’ll also mean that the Panthers can carry on building around him for another 5 – 10 years. I’d not like to see this franchise take that step back as they have some good pieces both on offence and defence which they need to take advantage of now.