Grill Bill: What's next for Cam Newton in Carolina?

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@ZacharyFaria The national media consensus seems to be that Cam is done in Carolina and I haven’t heard much from Panthers media to contradict that. How likely is it the case that Cam won’t play for us again?

Let’s start with that “likely” word since it’s been thrown around a lot this week. We can all try to read tea leaves and speculate, but at this point, all anyone is doing is guessing. Look at the calendar. It’s November 8. No one knows yet how things are going to shake out in 2020, including the Panthers and Newton.

One of David Tepper’s favorite words is optionality. If the Panthers have already made a decision, that doesn’t leave them with a lot of options, does it? So, sure, there’s a chance Newton could have played his final game with Carolina, but there’s also a case to be made that he hasn’t.

Like many things in sports, money is why this is even a valid discussion. Spreading Newton’s cap hit elsewhere is an intriguing thought, but the flip side is his salary of around $20 million is a bargain for a quarterback who could potentially still do elite things. That’s if Newton is healthy, of course. He’s not now, but we’re not talking about now.

So the smart thing to do is see how Newton is doing in early 2020. That’s when the Panthers can reassess their options ahead of the new league year, which is still more than FOUR MONTHS away.

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Website submission from John B in Raleigh, NC: I am confused by all the speculation that Cam’s time is over in Carolina. A 1 year cap savings is not worth losing a SB caliber QB over. Granted 3 years from now he will have to prove he is a better pocket passer as his running threat diminishes, but until then we should definitely keep him. I am hoping that we use the uncertainty to extend his contract 2 more years on a more team friendly deal than a healthy Cam would have allowed. Both length of contract and guaranteed compensation have to be more negotiable now. Also, we have Kyle (ERFA) & Will next year for cheap so overall position compensation is reasonable. Please tell me there is no chance that we cut him. That would be very short sighted. Trading him makes a little more sense, but not much. Needing reassurance in Raleigh

There are many layers to all this, and the extension question may end up being a large one.

Would Newton be willing to play next season on what would amount to a prove-it deal? As confident as he is in his abilities, I would think not. But if you’re the Panthers, would you be willing to give him more years after his health issues of the past two seasons?

Maybe a one-year extension would be a compromise, but I'm just spitballing. Everyone understands football is a business, and there could be some interesting negotiating coming up. But again, that’s months away, making nothing “likely” just yet.

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@Yerpyderpdederp The obvious question is whether another QB will be signed and who’s being talked about if so. Also, how’s Grier progressing?

I think they would’ve added someone this week, but bumps and bruises at other positions took priority. So an extra arm could be added eventually, but I wouldn’t expect a big name.

As far as Will Grier goes, they’re really pleased with how he’s coming along. He’s gotten a ton of reps as the “show team” quarterback, so he’s constantly being challenged by the Panthers’ starting defense. That’s forced him to improve his tempo and decision-making. Clearly, that setup isn’t game-like, but reps are reps.

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Website submission from Gordon in Chester, SC: is it really possible that christian mccaffrey wins mvp

Sure.

Touchdowns will be the number to track. Scrimmage yards, catches, etc. are nice, but the easiest way to stand out as a running back for a quarterback-dominated award is to score a ton. If McCaffrey can finish with somewhere between 25 and 30 touchdowns, he’s going to get a ton of votes — and right now, he’s on pace for 26.

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@SorryAmigos Sauce or dry rub?

Sauce. Namely, this stuff from Mama’s Boy Bar-B-Q in Cleveland.

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@uncrazi Cranberry sauce: jellied or berried?

Neither. More turkey.

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Website submission from Joaquin in Santiago, Chile: Hi Bill! I wanna know your thoughts about the run defense as the weakest point of our D. We know they can rush the passer and that helps the DBs, but what about stopping the run? We saw it against SF, Derrick Henry in the first drive of the second half... is it a matter of concern, knowing we still have to play very strong teams in the run game Greetings from Chile!

After the San Francisco game, Ron Rivera admitted the 49ers took advantage of the Panthers’ aggressiveness. There are a few ways to parse that, but one is when you’re so keyed in on rushing the passer, you can leave yourself exposed against the run. So while the Panthers lead the league with 34 sacks — the most they’ve ever had through eight games — it’s a bit of a pick your poison situation.

That doesn’t mean they should be giving up as many big runs as they have, though. I don’t think it’s a personnel issue. It’s all about gap integrity. In this defense, when one guy isn’t in the spot he should be, bad things can happen. Those explosive runs should be minimized if/when the Panthers improve their gap discipline.

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Website submission from Andrew in Charleston, SC: Of course we would love to have both, but would you rather lead the league in interceptions or in sacks? Sacks stress the Qb but Interceptions stop the drive……

The Panthers are nearly having it both ways at the moment since they lead the league in sacks and trail only the Patriots in interceptions. But if I had to pick one, it'd be sacks because they can directly lead to interceptions.

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Website submission from Kyle in Janesville, NC: I have never observed this in any football game I have watched, but I was curious per NFL rules what happens if during a fumble someone literally kicks the ball out ot bounds? Does the team of the player that kicked the ball out of bounds get the ball?

No, players aren’t allowed to deliberately kick a loose ball. An illegal kicking penalty costs 10 yards and a loss of down. But if you’re the offense and a fumble is bouncing around in the end zone, kicking it out for a safety could be the smart play.

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@GambleLikeMe Seeing that snow is in the forecast, over our 25 years what would be our record for which snow was on the ground?

Snow on the ground would be an awfully tough stat to track, but I can tell you the Panthers are 2-6 in games played in below-freezing temperatures:

Table inside Article
Rank Temp Date Location Result
1. 3 1/12/97 Green Bay Packers - 30, Panthers - 13
2. 12 11/30/14 Minneapolis Vikings - 31, Panthers - 13
3. 25 12/1/02 Cleveland Panthers - 13, Browns - 6
4. 27 12/23/10 Pittsburgh Steelers - 27, Panthers - 3
t5. 28 12/9/18 Cleveland Browns - 26, Panthers - 20
t5. 28 11/9/97 Denver Broncos - 34, Panthers - 0
t7. 30 12/10/00 Kansas City Chiefs - 15, Panthers - 14
t7. 30 1/3/10 Charlotte Panthers - 23, Saints - 10

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Website submission from Phil in Charlotte: How much longer can the Panthers rely on James Bradburry. He continually does not look back for the ball and gets the obvious pass interference calls. Perry Fewell is an excellent coach and if he can not teach him, no one can. About time the team look for another Dante Jackson.

OK, so he had two pass interference penalties against the Titans. But those are his only PIs this year. He also only had two in each of his previous three seasons. And, according to Pro Football Focus, he’s currently allowing the fourth-lowest passer rating among cornerbacks across the league.

It’s spelled Bradberry, by the way. And Donte.

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Website submission from Alex in VA Beach, VA: I don’t have a question. Just wanted to remind you to KEEP POUNDING!!!!!

Seems like an appropriate note to end on.

The Panthers are 6-9 against Green Bay all-time.

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