So are the Carolina Panthers going to trade Cam Newton or not?

The Carolina Panthers made two moves at quarterback on Monday and not one of them involved trading Cam Newton. What are the Panthers doing???

How is Cam Newton still on the Carolina Panthers’ roster?

He only played two games last season for the Panthers due to injury. In his extended absence, the team ended up with a dreadful 5-11 record. Head coach Ron Rivera was fired before the end of the season and the Panthers were the sorriest team in football in December.

So far this offseason, Carolina replaced Rivera with former Baylor Bears head coach Matt Rhule, who brought along former LSU Tigers passing game coordinator Joe Brady to be his new offensive coordinator. Carolina also signed two free-agent quarterbacks in Teddy Bridgewater from the NFC South rival New Orleans Saints and P.J. Walker from the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks.

This briefly had the Panthers’ quarterback room at five members: Newton, Bridgewater, Walker, Kyle Allen and Will Grier. Shortly after Walker’s signing, Allen was dealt to the Washington Redskins, reuniting with Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner in the nation’s capital. For a minute there, Washington looked like a practical trade destination for Newton, but it is no longer.

What are the Panthers trying to accomplish here with Newton on an expiring contract?

They’re running out of potential trade partners and self-sabotaged a possible landing spot for him by dealing Allen to the Redskins. Truthfully, Rivera and Turner may not have wanted another helping of “Superman Cam”, but he’d be the best quarterback on the Redskins’ roster, barring a miraculous comeback from injury by Alex Smith.

At this juncture, the two likeliest landing spots for Newton have to be the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. Neither club has a long-term starter after Philip Rivers and Tom Brady left in free agency. Newton is better than Tyrod Taylor in Los Angeles and certainly better than his fellow Auburn Tiger Jarrett Stidham in New England.

Could Newton go to either team?

Perhaps the Panthers organization is trying to put in place a deal to send Newton to either destination? Then again, Tom Telesco and Bill Belichick know Marty Hurney is running out of trade partners for Newton. They may just let Hurney cut Newton and sign him to a one-year deal well below his actual value.

There are other landing spots for Newton in the AFC North. Panthers owner David Tepper came from the Pittsburgh Steelers organization and they could use a successor to Ben Roethlisberger at some point. However, Newton would have to be a backup quarterback to Roethlisbeger at least for a year or so. The Terrible Towels aren’t going to like Newton treading on “Big Ben’s” territory.

Another option in the AFC North might be the Cincinnati Bengals. They too still need to find a place to trade Andy Dalton to, as everybody and their brother expects Cincinnati to draft 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick. Newton could compete with Burrow for the starting job in Cincinnati, but Burrow will eventually win out, given his presumptive lofty draft selection.

Of course, Carolina could still keep Newton for all we know. Then again, they did allow him permission to seek out a trade this offseason. Whatever is going on in Charlotte, it doesn’t make a ton of sense and no, it will not translate to a ton of wins next year either. With all three rivals making moves in free agency, Carolina will be expected to finish in last again in the NFC South.

Carolina is running out of options and Newton has to be running out of patience with the Panthers.

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