Carolina Panthers bring back familiar face, sign free agent Cam Newton

Nov 11, 2021, 10:45 AM
Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against th...
Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers warms up prior to the start of the preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 22, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers are bringing back a familiar face, as the team announced the signing of quarterback Cam Newton on Thursday.

The move comes after Panthers starting quarterback Sam Darnold was diagnosed with a fractured scapula, which is expected to sideline him for several weeks.

With Newton joining the team on Thursday, it’s likely the Panthers will be without his services for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Wednesday that P.J. Walker is expected to start on Sunday and Matt Barkley, signed off the Tennessee Titans practice squad, is slated to be his backup.

Newton is no stranger to the Panthers franchise, as the team took him with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He went on to win Rookie of the Year that season and played nine seasons in Carolina, eventually being named the league’s MVP in 2015 as he helped get the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

Newton is currently the Panther’s franchise leader in passing yards (29,041), passing touchdowns (182) and rushing touchdowns (58).

Newton has struggled in recent years to get back to the playing level that earned him league MVP honors in 2015, in part due to shoulder and foot injuries. Newton is 7-16 in his last 23 career starts with 20 interceptions and 17 touchdown passes. He has run for 12 TDs during that span.

He was released prior to the 2020 season in a salary cap move after losing his final eight starts for the Panthers. Newton signed with the New England Patriots last season and started in 15 games. He continued to struggle throwing the football, with 10 interceptions with only eight TDs passing. He ran for 12 scores and was 7-8 as a starter.

Against the Cardinals last season, Newton completed nine of his 18 passes, throwing two interceptions in the Patriots’ 20-17 win in Foxborough.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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