Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton knows how important he is to the Panthers

Cam Newton has never been a player short on self-confidence, but in this instance, it’s a positive development for the Panthers. 

There’s nothing more important to the Panthers offseason than Cam Newton’s shoulder. If he can recover and play like a Pro Bowler, then the sky’s the limit for Carolina in 2019. If the injury causes him to miss significant time, the Panthers could easily contend for the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Newton is always a player who has enjoyed a tremendous amount of self-belief, but that’s working to his advantage this offseason. The former Auburn star openly admits that everything with the Panthers “starts and ends” with him. That philosophy is currently driving his rehabilitation process.

The former No. 1 overall pick is taking his offseason more seriously than ever before. He’s still not throwing the football due to doctor’s orders, but he insists that his shoulder feels great. Newton has also engaged a vegan chef to help him cut weight prior to the start of the 2019 campaign.

The Panthers front office is obviously treating Newton in the most cautious, but pragmatic way possible. He’d like to be throwing a football at this point in the offseason, but they aren’t going to let him hurl a single ball down field until they have universal medical approval to let him fly. Rushing the franchise quarterback into action early in the offseason just isn’t a risk that Carolina is willing to take.

GM Marty Hurney also elected to invest valuable draft capital on the quarterback position. Selecting Will Grier in the third round isn’t a move designed to challenge Newton’s supremacy at the position, but it does drastically improve the team’s options if they’re forced to play a backup signal caller for a game or two. Even during his rookie season, Grier should prove to be a marked upgrade over the likes of Taylor Heinecke and Kyle Allen.

Next: NFL draft grades: Panthers get high marks

Of course, the Panthers hope they don’t need to use Grier at all this season. The best case scenario for Ron Rivera and his coaching staff is that Newton comes back 100% ready to go when the regular season begins. At the moment, that possibility still exists. That’s great news for Panthers fans dreaming of a lengthy playoff run.

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