The Carolina Panthers found themselves in serious need of a spark after they finished the 2010 season with the second-worst record in the history of the franchise and were given the first pick in the draft as a consolation prize.
The team had picked up Jimmy Clausen in the second round the previous year as a potential successor to the perpetually underwhelming Matt Moore. However, that didn’t stop them from capitalizing on the opportunity to add a Heisman Trophy winner to their roster and the Cam Newton Era officially began when he became the first person called to the stage by Roger Goodell.
The Panthers didn’t turn into contenders overnight but Newton showed enough flashes of brilliance to earn Rookie of the Year honors in 2011 and it didn’t take long for him to realize his potential, as 2013 marked the beginning of a three-year playoff streak that culminated in their losing effort in Super Bowl 50.
Newton also took home the MVP award thanks to his efforts during that campaign but everything started to go downhill after that. In the following years, the outfits Newton wore before and after games tended to be more noteworthy than his performance during them as he became the target of an increased amount of scrutiny.
The quarterback struggled in 2018 thanks to a lingering shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery, and while he was ready to go by the time the most recent season kicked off, he saw his year come to a premature end after succumbing to a foot injury that may have marked the beginning of the end of his time in Carolina.
Kyle Allen took over starting duties and Newton was ultimately placed on injured reserve after his rehabilitation efforts failed to produce the desired results but there were reports the team was planning to stick with Allen even if he had been able to recover.
Last week, the Panthers tapped Matt Rhule to take over as head coach, who quickly deflected a question about the quarterback situation when he was asked about what he’s planning to do with Newton.
However, if Ian Rapoport is to be believed, Carolina is gearing up to test the waters of the trade market as soon as Newton makes a full recovery and the NFL insider is confident he’ll find himself rocking a new uniform when next season rolls around.
At least it was (kind of) fun while it lasted.