Per reports, the Carolina Panthers are expected to use the fifth year option on franchise quarterback Cam Newton, which will allow the team to keep him around till at least 2015. This is a great move on multiple levels, and shows that despite some bone headed moves, the Panthers’ managing staff still has an idea of what’s best for the team.
Optioning Newton’s contract is the right move for the Panthers for multiple reasons. First, it enables the Panthers to make sure that Newton will be their quarterback, distraction free, for at least the 2014 and 2015 seasons. That means that, despite their lacking in receivers, secondary and offensive line, the Panthers will not have to worry about their quarterback position. This is a huge relief for management, and it is a relief that permeates throughout the entire Panthers’ organization. Not only will it take one more problem off of general manager Dave Gettleman’s plate, but it will also allow head coach Ron Rivera to at least have some idea of the team he will be dealing with in the near future.
Due to his recent ankle injury and subsequent surgery, there are some people who doubt Newton and his longevity. However, optioning him was a no-brainer for the Panthers, and a very smart move. The Panthers have revealed multiple times that they are already planning to sign Newton to a long-term deal, and locking him up for two more years gives them more time to not only negotiate a new contract, but also to focus on more pressing matters.
While this move seemed obvious (Newton is the Panthers’ future), it shows that the management knows where the stock of the team is, and much more importantly, how to manage their future. The pieces may not all be there right now in Carolina, but at least their quarterback is in place.