Panthers have tough decision to make on Cam Newton's future

Wed Nov 6 5:08pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stands on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


In this April 29, 2011, file photo, Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)


In this Sept. 13, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off the field following the Panthers 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)


In this Dec. 23, 2018, file photo, Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton watches the action from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)


In this Aug. 9, 2017, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laughs after the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans, in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek, File)


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Cam Newton's injury status has raised questions about whether he's played his final game for the Carolina Panthers.

The 2015 league MVP has struggled with shoulder and foot issues the last two seasons and will finish the season on injured reserve. He is 0-8 in his last eight starts and the Panthers face a difficult decision in February.

The organization must decide whether to pay Newton $21.1 million next season or cut ties with the longtime face of the franchise and save $19 million under the 2020 salary cap. If they decide to let Newton go, the quarterback would only cost the Panthers $2 million next season in dead cap space.

Trading Newton would be another option, although the Panthers would have to find a team willing to take on his exiting contract or agree to give the QB an extension.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera aren't ready to discuss that option, not with the Panthers (5-3) very much in the playoff hunt.

Newton, who hasn't done an interview about his health since aggravating his foot injury in a Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay, made a brief cameo in the locker room on Wednesday.

When asked if he had time to talk, he responded playfully, ''I haven't talked to y'all in a month of Sundays. This a month of Sundays. I got nothing for y'all.''

When pressed to talk, Newton looked back at reporters with a smile on his face and said, ''Y'all got all of the answers anyway. Y'all going to figure it out.''

Newton's representatives haven't returned phone calls and text messages from The Associated Press seeking comment on his future.

Hurney also declined interview requests, instead referring to the statement he released Tuesday. That statement said ''at this time, we have decided that the best decision to reach the goal of bringing the foot back to 100% is to place Cam on injured reserve.''

Rivera said it was a ''collective decision'' between all parties to put Newton on injured reserve but refused to discuss the QB's situation after making an opening statement.

''We feel right now the best thing was to put him on injured reserve and move forward,'' Rivera said. ''I really do appreciate everything Cam does and the fact he is still here and wants to be around and be part of it. He's done a great job doing it. With that, I would like to start talking about playing the Packers'' on Sunday.''

The coach was then asked whether he hopes Newton could return for the postseason after serving eight weeks on injured reserve. Rivera offered a terse response.

''That question will not be addressed until it is time to address it,'' Rivera said. ''So, at the end of the day, he's on IR. Kyle Allen is our quarterback.''

Rivera did say he expects that the decision will give Allen more clarity as far as his status as the team's unquestioned starting QB.

Allen is 5-1 as the team's starting quarterback in place of Newton, but there was some speculation he might lose his job after a 51-13 loss to the 49ers two weeks ago.

''I do think as a player it will help him,'' Rivera said. ''It's one of those things where you don't have to worry, `Hey, if I don't play well back-to-back something is going to happen immediately.'''

But Allen said his approach won't change now that Newton is on injured reserve.

''To be honest, I always expected to be in this position,'' said Allen, who went undrafted in 2018. ''... I expected that some way I was going to find a way to get here.''

Rivera wouldn't rule out the Panthers adding a third quarterback to the roster at some point.

Allen and rookie Will Grier are the only QBs currently on the roster.

For Allen, the rest of the season is an opportunity to bolster his resume and perhaps establish himself as Carolina's next franchise quarterback.

''I knew when I got my opportunity to play in this league I would have to take advantage of it,'' Allen said. ''Now I just have a few more opportunities.''

Player Notes
David Montgomery Nov 18 9:00am ET

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery finished with 14 carries for only 31 yards during the loss to the Rams on Sunday night. He also managed to catch a single pass for 19 yards but was outperformed in all areas by Tarik Cohen, who finished with more receiving and rushing yards, while also recording a touchdown. With this one in the books, Montgomery, who was nursing an ankle issue coming into this one, will hopefully be 100 percent for a showdown with the Giants in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Nov 18 8:53am ET

Updating previous reports, Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack (hand) is not expected to play in Week 12 Thursday, Nov. 21. He'll see a specialist this week to figure out how long he'll be out.

Fantasy Spin: Jordan Wilkins could be the featured back against the Houston Texans. It's not a good matchup, but Wilkins is at least worth a flex play.

From TheHuddle

Tarik Cohen Nov 18 8:50am ET

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen outplayed David Montgomery on Sunday night in the loss to the Rams. Cohen rushed for 39 yards, eight more than Montgomery, on nine attempts in addition to five receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown. This was arguably the most productive outing of the year for the 24-year-old, who has now scored in his last two games. He likely will return to yielding touches to Montgomery on a week-to-week basis moving ahead, but he still possesses PPR appeal in deeper formats due to his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He will look to keep it going against the Giants at home in Week 12.

From RotoBaller

Mitch Trubisky Nov 18 8:40am ET

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky struggled on Sunday night in the loss to the Rams, finishing with 190 yards, a touchdown, and a pick on 24-for-43 passing. The 25-year-old, who threw three touchdowns the week before against the Lions, suffered a hip injury early in this one but continued to play before finally shutting it down late in the fourth quarter. Trubisky will likely take it easy during practice throughout the week, with his status for Week 12 against the visiting New York Giants in limbo at the moment.

From RotoBaller

Benjamin Watson Nov 18 3:23am ET

New England Patriots TE Benjamin Watson caught three of his four targets for 52 yards in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fantasy Spin: The 52 yards nearly doubled his previous season high. Watson is bringing more fantasy relevancy to the position than Matt LaCosse or Ryan Izzo did, but the 38-year-old is still not an advisable streamer and probably won't be at any point this season.

From TheHuddle

Mohamed Sanu Nov 18 3:23am ET

New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu hauled in two of his four targets for four yards and added an eight-yard run on his only rushing attempt in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fantasy Spin: It's definitely not what fantasy owners were looking for after he posted a 10-81-1 line in his last game before the team's Week 10 bye. Then again, New England's offense wasn't exactly clicking on all cylinders against an inspired Eagles' defense. Sanu should be considered a low-end WR3 or WR4 option in Week 12 versus the Dallas Cowboys.

From TheHuddle

Nelson Agholor Nov 18 3:13am ET

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor had four receptions for 40 yards against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Nov. 17.

Fantasy Spin: With Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson out, Agholor was the de facto WR1 for Carson Wentz -- his nine targeted balls were more than Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside combined. He made some plays but again left some on the field, and he had a chance to tie the game late on a tough ball that he couldn't haul in. Agholor is a WR4 when Jeffery is healthy and could bump up to a WR3 when he's not.

From TheHuddle

Julian Edelman Nov 18 3:13am ET

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman hauled in five of his 10 targets for 53 yards in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also threw for a 15-yard touchdown on his only pass attempt.

Fantasy Spin: The receiving yardage total was his lowest since Week 7, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels helped saved his fantasy day by dialing up a trick play for the former college quarterback to throw a touchdown pass that ultimately led to Phillip Dorsett getting hurt. With at least 10 targets in five consecutive contests and at least five receptions in six straight, Edelman is a rock-solid WR2 with WR1 upside. Expect similar production in Week 12 versus the Dallas Cowboys.

From TheHuddle

James White Nov 18 3:03am ET

New England Patriots RB James White carried five times for 20 yards and caught four of his seven targets for 16 yards in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fantasy Spin: Considering how good the Eagles' rush defense is, this should have been a James White game. However, it was a bad day for most of the Patriots' offense as Philadelphia played one of its better games on defense. Amazingly, White has scored only two touchdowns in 2019 after erupting for a career-high 12 last year. He'll be a low-end RB2 play at best in Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Nov 18 3:03am ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert caught three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown in Week 11 against the New England Patriots.

Fantasy Spin: Goedert's TD was originally ruled an interception before being overturned on review. That gives him three TDs in his last four games, though with so many players missing it seemed like a day to get Goedert more involved. Still, his propensity for touchdowns does give him some fringe TE1 value.

From TheHuddle

Tom Brady Nov 18 2:53am ET

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady went 26-of-47 for 216 with no touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fantasy Spin: Brady did not look particularly good in this one, although the Eagles' defense did their part to make it tough on him. Still, he uncharacteristically missed throws he usually makes. His biggest chunk play was on a 30-yard screen pass in which Rex Burkhead did most of the work. Week 11 marked the third time this season in which he failed to throw for a score and the second one in which he did not account for one. He'll be in the QB2 conversation in Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.

From TheHuddle

Sony Michel Nov 18 2:53am ET

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries and added two receptions for 11 yards in Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fantasy Spin: Same story, different week for his fantasy owners. Michel has been a touchdown-dependent RB2 for most of the season, but he has been nearly unusable whenever Rex Burkhead has been active. Owners should consider other alternatives in Week 12 when the Patriots host the Dallas Cowboys.

From TheHuddle

Zach Ertz Nov 18 2:53am ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz logged nine catches for 94 yards during the team's Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots.

Fantasy Spin: After some lean weeks Ertz has bounced back with a vengeance, posting consecutive nine-catch outings and easily leading the team with 94 receiving yards against the Pats. He's a must-start TE1 each and every week.

From TheHuddle

Carson Wentz Nov 18 2:33am ET

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz completed 20 of 40 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots in Week 11.

Fantasy Spin: Yes, the Pats might have the NFL's toughest defense. Yes, the Eagles were missing some key weapons. And yet it's hard not to lay some blame at the feet of Wentz, who has now passed for fewer than 250 yards and exactly one TD in five of his last six games. Bottom line, those aren't QB1 numbers, and it seems unlikely he'll get healthy against a rested Seahawks club in Week 12.

From TheHuddle

Anthony Miller Nov 18 2:23am ET

Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller caught six passes for 54 yards against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Nov. 17.

Fantasy Spin: Six receptions were a season high for Miller, who has now topped 50 yards receiving four times in his last six games. While that qualifies as encouraging, Miller has no TDs this year and hasn't reached the 70-yard plateau. He's a fringe bench option in large leagues.

From TheHuddle

Nick Vigil Nov 18 2:23am ET

Cincinnati Bengals LB Nick Vigil finished with 12 tackles (six solo) in Week 11 versus the Oakland Raiders.

From TheHuddle

Roquan Smith Nov 18 2:23am ET

Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith was credited with 11 tackles (six solo) against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11.

From TheHuddle

Darren Waller Nov 18 2:13am ET

Oakland Raiders TE Darren Waller hauled in five of his team-high seven targets for 78 yards in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He also lost two yards on an end-around.

Fantasy Spin: Although it's hard for owners to be too upset with Waller considering the return on investment they've already realized, he had not topped three catches or 52 yards in three straight before this outburst. The breakout star is not exactly the blame, however, as the Raiders typically enjoyed positive game script and become run-heavy over that stretch. With tight end being the black hole it is in fantasy, owners should feel good about continuing to start him moving forward, including Week 12 against the New York Jets.

From TheHuddle

Taylor Gabriel Nov 18 2:03am ET

Chicago Bears WR Taylor Gabriel tallied seven receptions for 57 yards against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Nov. 17.

Fantasy Spin: Gabriel caught half of his 14 targets and has been a decent secondary producer behind Allen Robinson. He hasn't topped 75 yards in a game, however, and Chicago's passing attack isn't exactly providing opponents with many sleepless nights. Gabriel has some deep-league value, but in standard formats you should be able to do better.

From TheHuddle

Allen Robinson Nov 18 2:03am ET

Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson had four receptions for 15 yards in the club's Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Fantasy Spin: Robinson seemed to frequently attract the attention of Jalen Ramsey in coverage, and Chicago's top wideout finished with less than 20 yards receiving for the second time in three weeks. While Robinson remains the top Bears receiver to own, he's a risky WR3 at this point.

From TheHuddle