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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Week 15

Panthers have tough decision to make on Cam Newton's future

Wed Nov 6 5:08pm ET
By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer

Players: Cam Newton, Will Grier, Kyle Allen

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stands on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


In this April 29, 2011, file photo, Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)


In this Sept. 13, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) walks off the field following the Panthers 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)


In this Dec. 23, 2018, file photo, Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton watches the action from the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)


In this Aug. 9, 2017, file photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laughs after the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Houston Texans, in Charlotte, N.C. Cam Newton is a former league MVP and the long-time face of the Panthers franchise. But it's hard not to wonder if his future in Carolina is coming to an end following his recent spate of injuries. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek, File)


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Cam Newton's injury status has raised questions about whether he's played his final game for the Carolina Panthers.

The 2015 league MVP has struggled with shoulder and foot issues the last two seasons and will finish the season on injured reserve. He is 0-8 in his last eight starts and the Panthers face a difficult decision in February.

The organization must decide whether to pay Newton $21.1 million next season or cut ties with the longtime face of the franchise and save $19 million under the 2020 salary cap. If they decide to let Newton go, the quarterback would only cost the Panthers $2 million next season in dead cap space.

Trading Newton would be another option, although the Panthers would have to find a team willing to take on his exiting contract or agree to give the QB an extension.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera aren't ready to discuss that option, not with the Panthers (5-3) very much in the playoff hunt.

Newton, who hasn't done an interview about his health since aggravating his foot injury in a Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay, made a brief cameo in the locker room on Wednesday.

When asked if he had time to talk, he responded playfully, ''I haven't talked to y'all in a month of Sundays. This a month of Sundays. I got nothing for y'all.''

When pressed to talk, Newton looked back at reporters with a smile on his face and said, ''Y'all got all of the answers anyway. Y'all going to figure it out.''

Newton's representatives haven't returned phone calls and text messages from The Associated Press seeking comment on his future.

Hurney also declined interview requests, instead referring to the statement he released Tuesday. That statement said ''at this time, we have decided that the best decision to reach the goal of bringing the foot back to 100% is to place Cam on injured reserve.''

Rivera said it was a ''collective decision'' between all parties to put Newton on injured reserve but refused to discuss the QB's situation after making an opening statement.

''We feel right now the best thing was to put him on injured reserve and move forward,'' Rivera said. ''I really do appreciate everything Cam does and the fact he is still here and wants to be around and be part of it. He's done a great job doing it. With that, I would like to start talking about playing the Packers'' on Sunday.''

The coach was then asked whether he hopes Newton could return for the postseason after serving eight weeks on injured reserve. Rivera offered a terse response.

''That question will not be addressed until it is time to address it,'' Rivera said. ''So, at the end of the day, he's on IR. Kyle Allen is our quarterback.''

Rivera did say he expects that the decision will give Allen more clarity as far as his status as the team's unquestioned starting QB.

Allen is 5-1 as the team's starting quarterback in place of Newton, but there was some speculation he might lose his job after a 51-13 loss to the 49ers two weeks ago.

''I do think as a player it will help him,'' Rivera said. ''It's one of those things where you don't have to worry, `Hey, if I don't play well back-to-back something is going to happen immediately.'''

But Allen said his approach won't change now that Newton is on injured reserve.

''To be honest, I always expected to be in this position,'' said Allen, who went undrafted in 2018. ''... I expected that some way I was going to find a way to get here.''

Rivera wouldn't rule out the Panthers adding a third quarterback to the roster at some point.

Allen and rookie Will Grier are the only QBs currently on the roster.

For Allen, the rest of the season is an opportunity to bolster his resume and perhaps establish himself as Carolina's next franchise quarterback.

''I knew when I got my opportunity to play in this league I would have to take advantage of it,'' Allen said. ''Now I just have a few more opportunities.''

Player Notes
Jake Elliott Dec 10 12:20am ET

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made just one of his two field goals in Week 14, but he made both of his extra point attempts. Elliott was perfect through the first few games of the season, but he's been in a bit of a slump lately despite recently signing a contract extension. Still, with a good matchup coming up in Week 15 against Washington, Elliott should be a solid fantasy kicking option then.

From RotoBaller

Philadelphia Eagles Dec 10 12:20am ET

The Philadelphia Eagles Defense didn't do much in a Week 14 overtime win over the New York Giants. They allowed 17 points, all in the first half, and recorded two sacks, both by Vinny Curry. They were unable to record any interceptions or force any fumbles. It was a pedestrian performance against a stone statue resembling Eli Manning. Another good matchup awaits the Eagles defense with Washington up next on the schedule, but they're getting more and more difficult to trust in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Greg Ward Dec 10 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward came up with four catches on nine targets in Week 14, gaining 34 yards. Ward had the chance to come up with a few big plays, but was unable to do much with his opportunities. Ward was thrust into a bigger role after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave the game due to an injury in the second quarter, but Ward quickly showed why he was so far down on the depth chart. Regardless of Jeffery's recovery, Ward won't be a great fantasy option despite a good matchup against Washington in Week 15.

From RotoBaller

JJ Arcega-Whiteside Dec 10 12:10am ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside made two catches in Week 14, gaining 29 yards. He was targeted three times but was a near every-down player, especially after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave the game with a foot injury. Arcega-Whiteside showed some huge upside in the preseason but hasn't really been able to do anything in regular season play. Even if Jeffery is forced to miss Week 15, Arcega-Whiteside will be nothing more than a dart-throw in most fantasy formats.

From RotoBaller

Kaden Smith Dec 10 12:00am ET

New York Giants tight end Kaden Smith was a no show on Monday night. He saw five targets from Eli Manning but was only able to catch two of them for nine yards. Smith was a nice story after solid production last week, but he was never likely to have sustained value. With it probable that either Evan Engram (foot) or Rhett Ellison (concussion) will be back next week, Smiths time on the fantasy radar may be over.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders was thoroughly outplayed by Boston Scott in a Week 14 win over the New York Giants. Sanders averaged just three yards per carry, running the ball 15 times for 45 scoreless yards. He added four catches for 24 more yards. Scott, meanwhile, accrued 128 yards from scrimmage and made some explosive plays throughout the game. Sanders was forced to leave the game for a bit in the second half due to an injury, but he was able to return soon after. Sanders should still get the start in Week 15, but Scott has certainly earned more playing time and should eat into the upside that Sanders possesses.

From RotoBaller

Jay Ajayi Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi did almost nothing in a Week 14 win over the New York Giants, running the ball just twice for a total of five yards. He saw one target in the passing game, but was unable to come down with a catchable ball. Ajayi has played a very small role on the Eagles offense since being signed, and it has become clear that he is nothing more than depth in the running back room at this point.

From RotoBaller

New York Giants Dec 10 12:00am ET

Early on, the New York Giants Defense did a solid job against a banged-up Eagles offense. They took advantage of an Eagles offense without Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard, and Lane Johnson, getting pressure on Carson Wentz, forcing errant throws and sacking him three times. However, they were never able to get any turnovers and the Giants' utter lack of offense in the second half allowed the Eagles to gather some momentum as the game wore on. Even against the Dolphins and turnover-happy Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Giants are not a recommended streaming defense with so much on the line for fantasy teams.

From RotoBaller

Aldrick Rosas Dec 10 12:00am ET

New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas made both of his extra points and his only field goal attempt in Monday's loss to the Eagles. As with most games this season, Rosas' fantasy value is limited by his mediocre offense. The Giants simply don't get the ball into scoring position enough for him to be a fantasy-viable kicker, even next week against the Dolphins.

From RotoBaller

Zach Ertz Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz scored two huge touchdowns in Week 14, including a walk-off score in overtime. Ertz ended up with nine catches on 13 targets for a total of 91 yards. His first score came on a two-yard strike in the middle of the fourth quarter, and his second was another two-yard pass, this one in overtime. Ertz was essentially the entire passing game in this one, as Greg Ward and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were the only available wide receivers after Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave with a foot injury. With a strong matchup against Washington coming up next week, Ertz should be a strong TE1 once again.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Goedert Dec 10 12:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert made three catches on six targets in Week 14. He gained 41 yards on his three grabs, including one crucial catch near the end of the game that helped lead the Eagles to an overtime win. With Alshon Jeffery forced to leave in the second quarter due to a foot injury, Goedert and fellow tight end Zach Ertz ended up becoming the receiving corps for quarterback Carson Wentz. With another good matchup in Week 15 against Washington, Goedert will be a low-end TE1 again.

From RotoBaller

Carson Wentz Dec 9 11:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was solid in a rainy overtime win over the New York Giants in Week 14. Wentz completed 33 of his 50 pass attempts for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns went to tight end Zach Ertz, with the second one being an overtime walk-off score. Wentz was left with just Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the only healthy wide receivers on the roster after Alshon Jeffery left in the second quarter with a foot injury. It's a concern for Wentz's Week 15 outlook, but a good matchup against Washington helps.

From RotoBaller

Eli Manning Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had some magic working early in his first game back in the starting lineup since Week 3, delivering two touchdown passes to Darius Slayton, but the potion wore off as the rain picked up and the Giants collapsed on primetime TV. After his hot start, Manning remained inaccurate and immobile in the pocket. He finished with 15 completions on 30 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. The stats will look fine, but this Giants team is unquestionably better with Daniel Jones under center, and the expectation should be that Jones takes the job back next week against the Dolphins if his ankle heals up.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton exploded in the first half of the Giants loss to the Eagles on Monday night. Slayton and Eli Manning connected on two early deep balls as Slayton seemed to beat Ronald Darby at will. He corralled five of his six targets for 154 yards and two touchdowns, but the rain and the Giants ridiculously conservative gameplan caused Slaytons fun to end prematurely. With Daniel Jones likely to come back next week, Slayton remains a low-end WR3 in an easy matchup against the Dolphins, unless Evan Engram also comes back to take away more targets.

From RotoBaller

Boston Scott Dec 9 11:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott showed some real explosiveness and big play ability in a Week 14 overtime win over the New York Giants. Scott ran the ball 10 times for 59 yards and a touchdown, adding six catches for 69 more yards. Scott looked like the best running back in an Eagles uniform all season in this one, making it look easy as he averaged almost six yards per carry in the rain. Scott got a little extra run in the second half as Miles Sanders had to miss some time with a minor injury. Scott could see his role grow in Week 15 against Washington.

From RotoBaller

Saquon Barkley Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley was bottled up in Mondays loss to the Eagles. The Eagles run defense is among the leagues best, so Barkley rushing 17 times for 66 yards was not a surprise. However, in a rainy game with Eli Manning back under center, it was honestly shocking that Barkley was only able to muster one yard on three catches. Why the Giants star has seemingly been phased out of the passing attack is anybodys guess, but it has severely capped his fantasy value. He has a get-right game next week against the lowly Dolphins, but Barkley is just a low-end RB1 now.

From RotoBaller

Golden Tate Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was an afterthought in his first game with Eli Manning under center. The first-year Giant caught only one of his five targets for 11 yards. With Darius Slayton emerging and Evan Engram possibly returning next week, Tate is falling down the receiving pecking order and could be just a WR4 next week against the Dolphins. It would be safer to find another option for your fantasy playoffs.

From RotoBaller

Sterling Shepard Dec 9 11:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard was second on the team in targets with seven but only hauled in four passes for 28 yards. Whenever he is on the field, Shepard is a magnet for targets, regardless of who is under center. His consistently high volume means that he could be an intriguing, albeit risky, WR3 option next week against the Dolphins mediocre pass defense.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Dec 9 11:10pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was forced to leave Monday's game against the New York Giants due to a foot injury. Jeffery limped off the field after going down while running a route in the second quarter. He was carted into the locker room from the sideline. He made zero catches on two bad targets before getting hurt. It's a devastating blow to fantasy owners who trusted Jeffery after his huge Week 13 performance, but potentially even worse for the Eagles, who are left with just Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the only wide receivers in uniform.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Dec 9 10:13pm ET

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) will not return to the Week 14 game against the New York Giants due to his foot injury.

Fantasy Spin: Jeffery was carted off in the first half and immediately went to the locker room. He finished without a catch on two targets. Greg Ward Jr., JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Josh Perkins will steer the ship home at wide receiver.

From TheHuddle