While the Panthers vet candidates for their head coaching opening, a highly important element remains unsettled.
With a $2 million dead cap number left on the final year of his contract, cutting or trading Newton is very possible. If healthy, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said letting Newton walk would be the "dumbest thing they ever did."
"There aren't a lot of Cam Newtons walking around," McCoy said, via The Athletic. "In fact, there are no Cam Newtons walking around."
Newton has battled injuries over the last three seasons, with his latest robbing him of the majority of the 2019 campaign. His health issues are one of the main reasons why the Panthers might consider moving on to a younger option found in the draft. Safety Tre Boston, who is headed for free agency, had some strong words about such a line of thinking.
"The rest of those boys are playing to 40, but they got O-lines," Boston said, via The Athletic. "Why does Cam get to have just average lines, get beat up and the rest of these guys have healthy O-lines and get the same treatment as, 'Aw man, these guys can play 'til they're 40 with ease?'
"There's no secret. If we keep that man healthy, this man is one of the best in the league. Every year it is something with him. Why? Because he's one of the most hit quarterbacks in the league."
Before the arrival of Lamar Jackson, no quarterback ran the ball more often in the NFL than Newton, who carried it 361 times between 2015 and 2017. No matter the size of the runner, that type of consistent pounding will take its toll.
A change in offensive philosophy can help curtail the physical issues. Newton has had most of this season and will have this entire offseason to come back as healthy as possible -- likely as healthy as he's been since early 2016 -- for one more shot before his contract expires. We'll see whether the Panthers will have him.