No, the Panthers are not going to sign Cam Newton

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Most of you Carolina Panthers fans out there probably already know this. But in case you don’t . . . *smack*

Sorry, some of you might’ve needed that hard slap of reality.

The New England Patriots, in a shocking move, released quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday, effectively turning him away and the reins over to rookie Mac Jones. And, naturally, that had a portion of the Carolina faithful daydreaming about a reunion with the most impactful player their franchise has ever seen.

Admittedly, it’d be one heck of a turn in the storied and never-boring career of Newton. Going back to his NFL home after a year away to help push this new wave of Panthers into contention would be something special.

That, unfortunately, will be a story gone untold.

Carolina will not be bringing Newton back, for a number of painfully legitimate reasons. For one, they’re pretty much in on Sam Darnold for 2021.

The organization’s devotion to their new starting quarterback, at least for the upcoming campaign, is all but solidified to this point. Not only are we less than two weeks away from the regular season, but this past weekend’s reported doubt in trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson exists, in part, because they want to give Darnold a fair shake.

Offensive coordinator Joe Brady seems to be invested in turning the former third overall pick’s career around under his tutelage, and already believes he has something in him. That belief has yet to be disproven, as Darnold was largely impressive in his first extended bit of action in the system this past Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bringing in Cam, even if it were to be as veteran presence to back up and help coach Sam, would distract from this ongoing project. Just like it was the case for the Patriots, Newton is too much of a respected leader and personality amongst his teammates to keep around while a young player tries to carve his own spot out. Whether that be Jones or Darnold, Newton’s presence would likely undermine a transition.

Additionally, and there’s a crowd of you who won’t want to delve into this, his choice not to be currently vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus has very real consequences. We already saw that with New England, where he missed a handful of days due to a misunderstanding regarding testing, a protocol only unvaccinated players must participate in.

Head coach Matt Rhule has been quite clear of his hopes in getting as much of his team vaccinated as possible. It does, after all, provide a competitive edge as it drastically decreases the chances of the virus spreading through the roster and suddenly rendering personnel members, players and/or coaches, unavailable.

Newton does present a potential danger to any roster in that nature given his status. Linebacker Denzel Perryman made a similar decision while with the Panthers, and is no longer with the Panthers, partly, because of it. We know where this team stands on that.

So, while it’s a bummer to already dismiss the possibility, getting it out of the way now is likely best. Hopefully for Newton, who is one of the most talented and transcendent talents to ever step on a football field, this is not the end of that story.