David Tepper taking wait-and-see approach on Cam Newton's health, future with Panthers

Jason Owens

When Kyle Allen led the Panthers to four straight wins after taking over for an injured Cam Newton, there was talk of the end of an era in Carolina.

Now that the Carolina Panthers have lost three out of four — with Allen throwing four interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons — the thought of moving on from Newton doesn’t look so viable, if it ever was to begin with.

With questions lingering, Panthers owner David Tepper spoke with Charlotte media on Monday to address the Newton concerns and other questions surrounding the team.

Will Cam Newton return to Carolina?

According to multiple reports, Tepper said that he’d like to see Newton return as the team’s quarterback, but that a decision won’t be made until more is known about his health.

Newton, 30, has been sidelined since Week 3 with lingering foot pain that was eventually diagnosed as a Lisfranc injury. His season officially concluded when the Panthers placed him on injured reserve on Nov. 5.

Whether Cam Newton returns to the Panthers will largely depend on his health. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Whether Cam Newton returns to the Panthers will largely depend on his health. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The Panthers improved to 4-2 after losing their first two games but have since fallen to 5-5 and are a long shot to make the NFC playoffs.

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Allen doesn’t appear to be a starting-caliber quarterback, leaving Carolina with pending decisions on the direction of the position. Newton is due $21.1 million next season, but the Panthers could save $19 million against the salary cap if they choose to cut him or trade him.

Newton worth the risk if healthy

But if Newton returns healthy next season, $21.1 million for a quarterback with Newton’s credentials is a relative bargain, as Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab points out. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler, a former league MVP and an NFC champion.

If his foot is ready to go next season, then keeping him on at that price makes sense — especially considering his ties to the community and team he’s played for since 2011.

And that appears to be the tack Tepper is taking. He’s leaving all options open on Newton, but sounds ready to bring him back if he’s healthy.

If he’s not, it sounds like Tepper’s leaning toward cutting ties with the most visible player in the history of the franchise.

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