Is it a Question of Newton’s Health for Tepper?

Schuyler Callihan

"I've said it again and again: It's a question of how healthy he is. That's still the number one overwhelming thing, to see how healthy he is and to figure out when he's healthy or not. Everything comes from that.” That was a quote said earlier this week by Panthers owner, David Tepper talking about the future of quarterback Cam Newton. 

In what is the biggest question mark surrounding the organization this off-season, one may ask: Is this really about the health concerns?

Newton has come out publicly and said that he would love to return to Carolina and is all on board with Matt Rhule and company. 

Judging by his comments and how quiet the situation surrounding Newton has been, it sometimes seems as if a decision has already been made. It’s very possible that Tepper does want to see if he can fully recover before committing to him for the future. However, it’s just as possible that a decision to move past Newton has already been made and Tepper just wants to wait before making a deal. 

This is a very big decision not only for Tepper, but for Marty Hurney and Rhule as well. If it is time to move on from Newton, then the front office will have to decide if a quarterback for the future will need to be drafted or is already on the roster. 

Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are certainly out of the picture for Carolina unless somehow, they feel comfortable giving a king’s ransom for a top pick in the draft. Beyond those two, it gets a little murky. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert , Georgia’s Jake Fromm, and Utah State gunslinger Jordan Love would be the next best available options. All have their own flaws, but the biggest concern among all of them is - can any of them be a face of the franchise? Herbert and Love have been inconsistent throughout their collegiate career and Fromm has a lot of developing to go through. 

If Tepper and Hurney are attracted to any of these quarterbacks, this “it’s all about health” spiel could be just a way to salsa dance around the question. With the Panthers giving no general idea of what their intentions are as far as rebuilding, it’s hard to buy into what Tepper is saying. We are just weeks away from the NFL Combine without a direction in which they want to go in - or so it seems. 

Should the Panthers deal Newton, they could set themselves up for an opportunity to take Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 draft. Plus another possibility is that they still want to see a bigger sample size of Will Grier, since they did spend a third round draft pick on him a year ago. 

With Cam Newton still owed over $20 million in the final year of his deal and his declining level of play, this may be what is delaying the decision.

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