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Healthy Cam Newton (foot) could open up trade market

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper responded to questions about Cam Newton's future with the club by not dismissing possible trade options, but rather simply noting that the quarterback's health is the determining factor.

The health question could be answered in the coming weeks.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Monday's edition of NFL Total Access that the Panthers believe Newton's surgically repaired foot should be good to go to do at least some form of football activity by March, per sources informed of the situation.

If Newton can show he's on track to finally be fully healthy after years of injury issues, the bidding could open for his services.

Rapoport noted that the Panthers appear to view the rebuild as slightly more extensive than initially viewed when Carolina hired Matt Rhule as its new coach. As such, trading Newton seems a more likely option than running back the final year of the QB's contract and playing the franchise-tag game down the road.

Given the amount of potential QB-needy teams, the Panthers could have a solid bidding market for Newton's services. Rapoport mentioned the Chargers, Colts and possibly Buccaneers as three potential landing spots.

Newton doing some form of football activity before the new league year opens on March 18 could be massive for the Panthers' trade potential. If he shows he's healthy -- or at least on track for offseason workouts -- it would give Carolina leverage in trade talks before free agency. Once the market opens and teams begin to fill their rosters, there would be fewer potential trade partners to haggle.

With Newton representing potentially the biggest QB chess piece on the board who could change locales, whatever workouts he does between now and the middle of March will be news.

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