Cam Newton is BACK! Will take starting position as subpar Sam Darnold heads to IR

Let’s all be honest here. Sam Darnold wasn’t good anyway.

The Carolina Panthers (4-5) signed quarterback Cam Newton, their former MVP after starter Sam Darnold suffered a shoulder injury Sunday that will sideline him for four to six weeks. Cam Newton led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015 and has now signed a deal worth up to $10 million for the remainder of the season, including $4.5 million guaranteed and a $1.5 million roster bonus.

General manager Scott Fitterer talked about that they had a heartfelt, sincere discussion with him and it wasn’t about anything in the past: “It was more about what are we going to do now moving forward and what is Cam’s role and how can he help us and what can we do to support him.”

Newton was selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, played nine seasons for the Panthers before they released him following the 2019 season after he had struggled for several years with shoulder and foot injuries. They began a new regime with coach Matt Rhule at that time.

After learning the extent of Darnold’s injury on Tuesday, Rhule got with Fitterer to look at options: “After we talked and deliberated, I went back to my office and called Cam” Rhule said. “I asked if he had any interest in coming back to the Carolina Panthers. He emphatically said, ‘Yes.'”

Two days later, Newton flew to Charlotte to meet with owner David Tepper and Fitterer to finalize the deal. Rhule is eager to see “where he is physically”, adding “A healthy Cam Newton is a special player, we’ll just take it day by day.” Newton is expected to start practicing on Friday already. He started just 15 games for the New England Patriots last season, before being released in training camp this year after the team decided to go with rookie Mac Jones as their starter.

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Here is what Newton was saying in the video: “Hell yeah, I still want to play football, I still get that urge to go out and perform and do something that I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.”

Here’s some highlights from before: