It seems like just last season the Carolina Panthers were on the clock and selected Cam Newton with the number one pick overall. However, Newton is a long way from being an Auburn Tiger and has only one year left on his rookie contract.
The Panthers have plenty of decisions to make this offseason, but none will be bigger than the move they make on Newton who is becoming the face of the franchise. Newton finally gives the Carolina faithful something to cheer about as his athleticism combined with marketability is what the Panthers have been searching for. Unfortunately for the Panthers the spotlight might not be bright enough for Newton who has had mixed feelings about the Charlotte area in his brief NFL tenure.
If I was Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman I would begin focusing on Newton’s deal as soon as possible, simply because the team has already built around Newton and invested so much time in his maturation.
Gettleman is coming from the New York Giants organization and he knows a thing or two about winning big games. The Giants knew they had a good thing in Eli Manning and never let him even sniff free agency, I expect the same thing from the Panthers in this situation. Newton is owed more than $3M in 2013, however, that is his last year under contract with the Panthers as of now. Talks have speculated that the team would place the franchise tag on Newton, however, I think that would only anger the club’s franchise quarterback.
While the free agent market is somewhat lacking this offseason, Newton could be a hot commodity if the Panthers decide to move on at the quarterback position.