The Carolina Panthers agreed to phrases with quarterback Cam Newton on Thursday, the crew introduced, reuniting the franchise with its profession main passer and one in every of its hottest gamers lower than two years after it launched him.

The transfer provides stability to the Panthers after their beginning quarterback, Sam Darnold, injured his proper shoulder on Sunday in opposition to the New England Patriots. Darnold is predicted to miss a number of video games. The Panthers’ backup, P.J. Walker, has began just one sport in his two-year professional profession, and the crew just lately signed the journeyman Matt Barkley.

After the Panthers minimize Newton, the Patriots signed him in July 2020, and he began 15 video games for them final season. But the Patriots launched him close to the tip of this coaching camp, electing to begin a rookie, Mac Jones, whom the crew drafted No. 15 total this spring. In August, a misunderstanding of Covid-19 protocols compelled Newton to miss a number of days of observe — an indication that he had not been vaccinated. His absence allowed Jones to observe with the Patriots’ starters.

Newton’s vaccination standing additionally made it more durable for potential suitors to signal him. Unvaccinated gamers should check detrimental for 5 days earlier than getting into crew amenities. In October, on his YouTube channel, Newton confirmed that he had been vaccinated and was prepared to be part of a crew.

“I still want to play football,” Newton mentioned. “I still get that urge to go out and perform and do something that I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.”

ESPN and the NFL Network reported that the deal was a one-year contract value up to $10 million. Team officers and an agent for Newton didn’t instantly reply to messages in search of remark.

The Panthers drafted Newton with the No. 1 total decide in 2011, and he rapidly grew to become a cultural fixture in Charlotte, N.C., for his demeanor, style sense and highlights on the sector. He received the Rookie of the Year Award and earned three Pro Bowl nominations. In 2015, he received the N.F.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award and led the Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season file and a Super Bowl look.

His profession slipped after that. The Panthers made the playoffs solely as soon as from 2016 to 2018, and Newton performed by means of nagging accidents and struggled together with his passing accuracy. In 2019, he sustained a critical foot harm that restricted him to two video games. After a brand new regime took over the Panthers’ entrance workplace and training employees, the Panthers launched Newton in March 2020.

When the Patriots signed Newton it was to a one-year, incentive-based deal, an affordable worth for a possible successor to Tom Brady, who had joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 years in New England. Newton missed just one begin for New England — as a result of he contracted the coronavirus — and accomplished 65.eight % of his passes and rushed for 12 touchdowns. But the offense limped by means of the season as a result of it lacked elite talent gamers. Still, the crew re-signed him this spring to preserve a confirmed veteran on the roster.

The Panthers, in the meantime, additionally confronted bother changing Newton. They signed Teddy Bridgewater final season, however the quarterback carried out poorly late in video games, contributing to a 5-11 file. David Tepper, the crew’s proprietor, was mentioned to be considering Deshaun Watson, too, earlier than Watson confronted lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and misconduct.

In April, the crew traded for Darnold, believing the previous Jets quarterback would achieve a brand new surroundings with higher teaching and offensive weapons. That concept labored initially because the Panthers received their first three video games of the season. But they’ve misplaced 5 of the final six, and Darnold is tied for the league lead in interceptions with 11. On Oct. 24 in opposition to the Giants, Coach Matt Rhule benched Darnold within the fourth quarter. When requested this week about doubtlessly signing Newton within the wake of Darnold’s harm, Rhule deflected.

“I won’t get into any hypotheticals. I’ll just probably just talk about the guys on the roster,” Rhule mentioned.

Now, Newton is a man on the roster.

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