The Carolina Panthers drafted Cam Newton with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft. Newton has been a standout talent since his youth. A three-sport athlete as a youngster, Newton gave up baseball and basketball at 14 to pursue a career in football.
After being recruited to the University of Florida, Newton found himself as the backup to arguably the greatest football player of all time, Tim Tebow, on arguably the greatest football team of all time, the 2008 Florida Gators. In November 2008, Newton saw his Gator glory come to an end as he was arrested for his infamous “laptop” incident. Cam transferred to Blinn College in Texas where he led the team to a NJCAA National Championship in his only season.
Newton became the most highly recruited high school or junior college player and decided to take his talents to Auburn. After playing backup to Tebow, Newton came out in the 2010 season and had the greatest single season any player ever had in the 140-year history of college football, totaling a staggering 50 touchdowns in — again — his only season.
The Carolina Panthers selected Cam with the first pick of the draft and his career couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Newton became the only player in NFL history to pass for 400 yards in his first two starts. Cam was the runaway favorite for the 2011 Rookie of the Year by scoring the more touchdowns and gaining more yards than any rookie before him.
Although Newton put up yards and touchdowns like nobody before him, they didn’t equate to many wins until 2013 when the Panthers finished with a 12-4 record but lost in the first round of the playoffs. Newton reached his height as an NFL quarterback in 2015 when he won the MVP award and carried his team to the Super Bowl. But the Denver Bronco defense, coached by Wade Phillips, won the Super Bowl due to constant pressure on Newton who couldn’t get comfortable that particular Sunday night.
Since his prolific 2015 season, the Panthers have been a disappointment. The team has surrounded Newton with talent on offense, while the defense is in the top 10 every year. The problem has been Newton. Newton’s accuracy has been an issue since the start of his professional career. Although his accuracy has gotten better in stretches under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Newton’s body is falling apart on him. A tear in his shoulder last year and multiple lower leg injuries this year has finally sidelined Superman.
In his absence this season, the Panthers have decided to start Kyle Allen who has gone 3-0 since Newton has been out. Allen was the highest rated high school quarterback in the country his senior year. Allen had offers from every major university in the country but decided his best fit was Texas A&M.
The Aggies also had future No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Kyler Murray, as well, but both transferred in December 2015. Allen then went to the Houston Cougars where he was benched almost immediately and sparingly played. Kyle Allen entered the 2018 NFL draft but went undrafted and signed with the Panthers.
Carolina is moving in the right direction as an NFL franchise with little to no help from Newton. Christian McCaffrey has been a huge help for Allen in his campaign as the quarterback leading the league in rushing yards and all-purpose yards. The Carolina defense is second in sacks and fourth in pass defense while also forcing turnovers to give the young quarterback shorter field position to work with.
Newton is still under contract for this season and the following season, but Carolina should cut Newton after this season to save $19 million in cap space to help acquire free agents and build depth to a roster that is already loaded.