Matt Rhule is trying to do anything to keep his job with the Carolina Panthers.
Christian McCaffrey being out doesn’t help, but the quarterback play has not stepped up at all.
The problem that led to Newton being signed in the first place was Sam Darnold going down with an injury.
His play was also uninspiring, so the timing ended up working out to give the Panthers a new look.
But the team is now 5-9 after reaching 5-5 and seeking answers.
That could involve putting Darnold back under center.
QB Sam Darnold has been cleared for contact, and he’s on the practice field.
— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) December 22, 2021
Darnold last played back in Week 9 in an ugly 24-6 loss against the New England Patriots.
That loss dropped the Panthers to 4-5 and led them to sign Newton.
Playing Darnold now, at 5-9, does make some sense.
The Future At QB
It has become clear that Newton is not likely to earn a new contract with the Panthers.
He has been benched twice and has a total of 623 yards in five games.
Newton even posted a 5/21 performance for a total of 92 yards in a blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Walker is a suitable backup, but it is Darnold who has a large fifth-year option on the books already in 2022.
I get the sense that Quarterback Sam Darnold, who has been cleared to play, will likely backup Cam Newton Sunday.
— Jonathan M Alexander (@jonmalexander) December 22, 2021
That likely means he will be the starter because no NFL team out there is going to take on his contract in a trade.
Teams can wait until 2023 if they truly believe in him.
The entire situation is a mess and a total reset may be needed to fix things.
That is, a reset at quarterback and head coach.
But Darnold’s contract complicates things and may mean Rhule gets one more year to figure things out.