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Panthers' QB Cam Newton 'A Long Way Off' From Return

WBT
November 01, 2019 - 10:55 am

Story By: Tim Kelly, RADIO.COM

After the Carolina Panthers lost 51-13 to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8 - a game that saw quarterback Kyle Allen throw three interceptions - there was some thought that it may be the perfect time for former NFL MVP Cam Newton to return.

As it turns out, it looks increasingly like the 30-year-old may not be able to return until late in the 2019 season, if at all.

Per ESPN's Josina Anderson, Newton is visiting Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot specialist. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport took things a step further, saying that Newton's mid-foot sprain "is not getting better," and that returning to NFL action is "a long way off."

Newton initially suffered his mid-foot sprain in the Panthers Week 3 preseason tilt in New England. He initially tried to play through it, though that was unsuccessful. The Panthers lost their first two games of the regular season, with Newton failing to throw a touchdown pass and rushing for -2 yards. He hasn't played since the team's Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In his absence, the aforementioned Allen has done an admirable job filling in. The second-year pro out of Houston has thrown for seven touchdowns to just three interceptions in five starts. Though he initially struggled with fumbling the ball - he fumbled six times in his first three starts - Allen hasn't fumbled in either of his last two starts. The Panthers are 4-1 with Allen under center.

Still, there's an argument to be made that the Panthers - who are 4-3 - still have the most upside as a team with a healthy Newton at quarterback. It is unclear, though, what a healthy version of Newton looks like at this stage of his career.

If Newton doesn't return in 2019, it would leave the Panthers with a difficult decision regarding how to proceed at quarterback. If Newton is on the Panthers roster in 2020, he would come with a $21.1 million cap hit. However, if the team released the former No. 1 overall pick, they would inherit just $2 million in dead cap money and theoretically be able to build a better team around Allen.

After the initial report, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney confirmed this report.

“I spent a long time speaking with Cam this week and he’s done everything he possibly can in his rehab process to get his foot to 100 percent,” Hurney said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t reached that point. The next step is for him to go see Dr. Anderson and gather more information.”

Entercom Charlotte's Jason Huber contributed to this story. 

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