Cam Newton underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder for the second time in his career. Will he be able to contribute to the Panthers in 2019?
Newton, the team’s face of the franchise since he was drafted first overall in 2011, struggled with the injury during the second half of the 2018 season as the Panthers would go on to lose seven straight games and miss out on the postseason.
Carolina started out the regular season with a 6-2 record, with many considering Newton an early candidate for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Although he popped up on the injury report in Week 8 with a shoulder injury, there didn’t appear to be any real concern for the rest of the season.
Newton eventually started to show signs that something was wrong with his shoulder, and was replaced by backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke for a Hail Mary attempt on the last play of the game in Week 13.
Newton finished that game with a 66.2 passer rating and would not finish with a passer rating above 70 over the next three weeks.
The team finally shut down their starting quarterback for the season prior to Week 16. Panthers owner David Tepper recently made comments that suggested Newton could miss the 2019 season if it meant that he would come back fully recovered for the following year.
Head coach Ron Rivera has guided the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance before but the team has missed the playoffs twice in the last three seasons. He was considered on the hot seat after this year’s seven-game losing streak but was brought back for the 2019 season.
If Carolina struggles to make the postseason again, it’s difficult to envision Rivera back with the team in 2020.
For the Panthers to have a chance at winning next season, they’ll need their three-time Pro Bowl quarterback to make a full recovery or else they could find themselves watching the playoffs from home for the second year in a row.