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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Articles tagged: Carolina Panthers

Will Grier could make first career start for Panthers in Week 16

Kyle Allen has not played well over the past month or so after many were quick to say he is worthy of taking Cam Newton’s starting job, and the Carolina Panthers may now get a look at another quarterback down the stretch.

Panthers interim head coach Perry Fewell would not commit to Allen as the team’s Week 16 starter while speaking with the media on Monday. He said a decision will be made on Wednesday, which means Carolina is at least considering the possibility of giving rookie Will Grier his first career start.

Allen has thrown 10 interceptions in his last five starts, and the Panthers have lost six games in a row. They’ve cooled off considerably since they went 5-1 in the first six games he played in after Newton went down. Suddenly, Allen doesn’t look as much like a franchise quarterback as he did when opponents had less film on him.

Grier, a former star at West Virginia, was Carolina’s third-round pick in this year’s draft. It would make sense for the Panthers to give him some reps now that they are 5-9 and out of the playoff hunt, but that doesn’t bode well for Allen’s future.

It seemed like a foregone conclusion at one point that Newton’s days with the Panthers were numbered, but we have heard some reports recently that make that sound less certain. If he’s healthy, there’s no question Newton is a better player than Allen. The Panthers seem more likely to keep Newton this offseason if they bench Allen for the final two games.

Panthers reportedly have not made decision about Cam Newton’s future

Cam Newton tie

It has been widely reported that the Panthers will look to trade Cam Newton this offseason, but that is not a decision the team has made yet. While Kyle Allen looked at one point like he was stating his case to be the quarterback of the future in Carolina, things appear to be less certain as the season winds down.

Newton recently underwent surgery to repair the foot injury that cost him the majority of the 2019 season, and Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman was told by a source that the Panthers have not made any decisions about whether or not they will part ways with the former NFL MVP. Injuries have obviously been a major factor in Newton’s declining performance in recent seasons, so it makes sense for Carolina to wait and see how healthy he looks after his foot is healed.

Early indications have been that Newton will be fully healthy by March, which is when the Panthers must decide if they want to keep him on the roster and guarantee his $18.6 million salary for 2020. Of course, they could still trade him after that, and plenty of teams would be interested as long as the foot injury is no longer an issue.

Newton’s $18.6 million salary for next season is a bargain for a starting quarterback, especially one with his skillset. He’s also still only 30, which is why it sounds like the Panthers will need to be blown away by an offer if they move him. Carolina could decide it is too risky to give Newton a contract extension given his injury history, in which case trading him may be the best option.

If Newton is healthy, he can certainly help a contending team. The Chicago Bears have been mentioned frequently as a potential suitor for him, but other teams are sure to be interested as well.

Panthers will reportedly keep Cam Newton if return is not significant

The Carolina Panthers have already begun making big changes by firing head coach Ron Rivera, and there has been a lot of talk about a Cam Newton trade coming next. However, it is not exactly a guarantee that the former NFL MVP will be playing for a new team in 2020.

Newton is scheduled to undergo surgery in the coming days to repair the foot injury has sidelined him for almost the entire 2019 season. The goal is for him to be fully healthy in March, which is when the Panthers have to decide if they want to keep him on the roster and guarantee his $18.6 million salary for 2020. While Carolina is planning to explore trade possibilities, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that they have not ruled out keeping Newton if the return is not significant.

Assuming doctors declare Newton fully healthy, there should be at least one or two teams that are willing to part with a high draft pick for the 30-year-old. While the injury concerns surrounding Newton are valid, he can be a game-changing talent under the right circumstances. The Kansas City Chiefs traded Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins two years ago for a third-round pick and starting cornerback Kendall Fuller, and the Denver Broncos acquired Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens last offseason for a fourth-round pick. Newton should fetch more than that.

Newton’s $18.6 million salary for next season is a value for a starting quarterback, but he will likely want an extension if and when he is healthy. He recently indicated he wants to remain in Carolina, though his reaction to the Rivera firing makes you wonder if he has since changed his mind.

Report: Jim Harbaugh is not Panthers’ top target for head coach

Jim Harbaugh

The Carolina Panthers are looking for a new head coach after firing Ron Rivera this week, but don’t expect them to turn to Jim Harbaugh.

Peter Schrager appeared on FOX’s NFL pregame show prior to Thursday night’s Bears-Cowboys game and said Harbaugh is not the team’s top target.

There really never was any rumor suggesting the Panthers had interest in Harbaugh. The only place the two were linked was through a betting website that sent press releases to many sports writers about the odds on the next Panthers coach, which isn’t a report or even a rumor.

Schrager says Panthers owner David Tepper will be open to a potential college coach to fill the position.

Tepper has already stated what he is looking for in a coach.

“What I want for the organization in general is a mesh of old and new,” Tepper said. “Old football discipline, modern processes, modern analytics. But I respect old school discipline, too.”

Wow, that sounds like the perfect coach! Does this person actually exist in the NFL, outside of maybe New England? Best of luck in finding him, David.

Ron Rivera hits back at critics in passionate press conference after firing

Ron Rivera

Ron Rivera spoke with the media on Wednesday morning for the first time since the Carolina Panthers announced their decision to fire him, and the former head coach made it clear that he feels he did not deserve to lose his job.

Oftentimes when a coach is fired, they talk about how they were unable to get the job done and wish they could have won more games. While Rivera did say his biggest regret is not winning a Super Bowl with the Panthers, he defiantly spoke about how he inherited a 2-14 team and turned it into a contender.

“Winning is hard in the NFL and not to be taken lightly,” Rivera said. “I’m proud that I took over a 2-14 team and won back-to-back-to-back NFC South division titles. I want to reemphasize: I’m proud that I took over a 2-14 team and won back-to-back-to-back. See the emphasis? Won? Three in a row. Whether you define it by wins or losses or define it by winning the division, to me that’s three years in a row of consecutive winning.”

Rivera was speaking directly to those who have called his 76-63-1 regular season record mediocre. He also alluded to the talk that one of his division titles was the product of good fortune, as the Panthers won the NFC South in 2014 despite finishing 7-8-1.

“I get tired of hearing that we couldn’t win three years in a row or two years in a row,” Rivera added. “No, we won three years in a row, so let’s get that straight. We were the first team in the NFC South to do it, so I’m pretty doggone proud of that.”

You can clearly see that Rivera is upset about being fired, which is understandable. He seemingly took the fall for a down season in which former NFL MVP Cam Newton essentially did not play at all because of a foot injury. The odds were stacked against Rivera from the start this year, so he probably feels he’s being used as a scapegoat.

Rivera said he plans to continue coaching next year and is “kind of excited” about pursuing other opportunities. He also said he was surprised by the timing of his dismissal.

Rivera ended the press conference by holding up a shirt that read “missed opportunities.”

Panthers owner David Tepper had a reasonable explanation for why he did not wait until the end of the season to fire Rivera, but it doesn’t sound like the coach is buying it. Fortunately for him, there will likely be other NFL teams who think his performance was good enough to keep his job. That should help him land another head coaching gig fairly quickly.

Cam Newton posts heartfelt tribute to Ron Rivera: ‘This one hurt deep’

Ron Rivera was fired by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday in what could be the first of several big moves for the franchise, and Cam Newton had an emotional reaction to the news.

Shortly after the Panthers announced that they are parting ways with Rivera, Newton took to Instagram to say he will be “forever grateful” that Rivera gave him an opportunity. He ended the post by saying “this one hurt deep!!”

Some were surprised by the timing of Rivera’s firing, but Panthers owner David Tepper explained that he did not want to disrespect the coach by searching for his replacement while he was still employed by the team. It’s possible that the Panthers are planning to usher in a new era altogether, as Newton’s days with the franchise could be numbered as well.

Reports have indicated that it is unlikely Newton will be back in Carolina next year, as Kyle Allen has played well in his place and the Panthers can save a significant sum of money if they trade the former NFL MVP. Some comments Newton made recently gave the impression that he does not want to leave, but that decision is not up to him.

Panthers owner did not want to ‘disrespect’ Ron Rivera by waiting to fire him

Ron Rivera

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was fired on Tuesday, leading many to wonder why the team could not let him finish out the remaining four games of the season. According to Panthers owner David Tepper, that was done out of respect for Rivera.

Tepper explained his decision to part ways with Rivera shortly after the team was informed. He said he chose to make the move now because he feels it would be “disrespectful” to start searching for Rivera’s replacement while the coach was still employed by the team.

That rationale actually makes sense. The Panthers are going to have to pay Rivera the remainder of his contract anyway, so it does them no good keep him around when they are out of playoff contention and know they’re going to go in another direction. They could have always waited until after the season and said the two sides decided to “mutually part ways,” but everyone knows that’s just a deceiving way of saying a coach was fired.

The Panthers are 5-7 and have lost four straight games. While Cam Newton’s injury has certainly played a role in their struggles this year, there could be some other big changes coming in Carolina this offseason. A fresh start with a new head coach may not be a bad idea.