Cam Newton is going back to the Panthers, agreeing to terms on a deal

Newton began his career with the Panthers, who drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

Cam Newton could be returning to the place where his NFL career began. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

Cam Newton is going back to the place where his NFL career began.

The veteran quarterback has agreed to terms on a deal with the Panthers, pending a physical, the team announced Thursday.

Newton’s contract will last through the end of the 2021 season. He can earn up to $10 million this season with $4.5 million guaranteed plus a $1.5 million roster bonus, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

News of a reunion between the two sides first emerged Thursday morning when The Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan M. Alexander reported that Newton would meet with Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, owner David Tepper, and vice president of football operations Steven Drummond.


Newton’s been a free agent since the Patriots cut him at the end of the preseason in August. Newton, who missed time in training camp because he didn’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine, has gotten vaccinated since he was cut by the Patriots.

The Panthers’ need for a quarterback became desperate following their 24-6 loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Starter Sam Darnold threw three interceptions in the loss and is expected to miss four to six weeks due to a shoulder injury. If Newton signs on Thursday, he could practice and play immediately, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

After a promising start with the Patriots in 2020, Newton struggled down the stretch in his lone regular season in New England. He threw for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Newton did add 592 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, but that wasn’t good enough for the Patriots, who missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years as they went 7-9.

Newton began his NFL career with the Panthers in 2011 when the team selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in that year’s draft. Newton had instant success in Carolina, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.


Not long after his strong rookie season, Newton led the Panthers to three straight NFC South titles from 2013 to 2015. He had the best year of his career in 2015, throwing for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns and adding 636 yards and 10 touchdowns through the ground. Those numbers were good enough to earn Newton the MVP that season as he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record and the NFC title. Newton and the Panthers would go on to lose in the Super Bowl against the Broncos.

Newton continued to play solid in Carolina until the midway mark of the 2018 season. After struggling in the second half of the season, Newton sat out the final two games of that year due to an injury on his throwing shoulder that required surgery. Newton’s injury issues continued in 2019 when a Lisfranc fracture cut his season short after two games.

In March 2020, two months after the Panthers hired Rhule, Newton was released by Carolina. After spending months as a free agent, Newton signed with the Patriots in July of that year.


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