Cam Newton signs one-year deal worth up to $10M with Panthers as QB returns to franchise that drafted him

The Carolina Panthers are in need of a quarterback. A familiar face will be the answer. 

Carolina signed Cam Newton to a one-year contract Thursday hours after Jonathan A. Alexander of The Charlotte Observer reported the team scheduled a meeting with their all-time passing leader regarding a possible return to the franchise that drafted him. Newton, who played for the Panthers from 2011 to 2019, has been a free agent since the New England Patriots released him in August. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports the one-year contract is worth up to $10 million for the rest of year, which includes $4.5 million fully guaranteed and a $1.5 million roster bonus.  

The Panthers are in need of a starting quarterback after starter Sam Darnold suffered a fracture in his right shoulder blade. Carolina placed Darnold on injured reserve — which means he’s out for a minimum of three games. PJ Walker is scheduled to start Sunday and Carolina signed Matt Barkley this week for roster depth. 

The Panthers have just two quarterbacks on the active roster, which is why it made sense to give Newton a call. Walker has struggled when he’s relieved Darnold, completing just 3 of 15 passes for 33 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions (39.6 rating). Newton is expected to start once he gets back into football shape, with the likely return in Week 11 against Washington.

(To see how the Sportsline oddsmakers handicapped Newton possibly signing with Carolina or another team this season, click here.)

Newton transformed the Panthers into a Super Bowl contender during his nine years in Carolina, winning the 2015 NFL MVP award and leading the organization to Super Bowl 50. Newton has thrown for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns in his career with Carolina, both the most in franchise history. He also is third on the Panthers’ all-time rushing list (4,806), and his 58 rushing touchdowns are the most in franchise…

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