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Cam Newton Signs With Panthers, PJ Walker Still Starting

On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers signed former MVP quarterback Cam Newton, who had originally been with the team from 2011 to 2019. Shortly after, head coach Matt Rhule announced that PJ Walker would still be starting against the Cardinals in week 10.

Newton is a Panthers legend, holding numerous franchise and league records. In 2020, he spent time with the New England Patriots, but was underwhelming in the pass game. The team drafted Alabama quarterback Mac Jones just a few months ago, and Newton was released during final roster cuts. He recently had discussions with the Seattle Seahawks, but a deal never materialized. Now, Newton finds himself in a familiar place. 

Cam Newton during his stint with the Patriots in 2020 Photo Credit Mitchell Leff

Although many NFL fans are happy to see Newton back in the league, it’s not a good sign for PJ Walker. He’ll be the QB1 on Sunday, things are likely to change regardless of his performance. There have already been rumors about Newton possibly starting in week 11, depending on how he progresses in practice. Rhule claimed that the Newton signing was done to “boost their talent,” and he would have the opportunity to make an impact.

There’s two separate debates about the Panthers quarterback situation: who will be the substitute for Sam Darnold, and can Darnold keep his job when he comes back? The former New York Jet recently suffered a shoulder injury and has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks.

Regardless of what happens, Walker could still have a chance to start in 2022. Newton’s deal only lasts for the remainder of 2021, and at the age of 32, he’s no longer the future of the franchise. The Panthers traded for Darnold this past offseason, but he’s been very inconsistent,  and it doesn’t seem like they’re fully committed to him yet. 

For XFL fans, the hope is that Walker can defy the odds and give the Panthers some wins. It’s a harder job now than it was just a few days ago, but anything is possible in the world of football. 

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Football journalist/scout/future coach covering the Houston Roughnecks. Air Raid/Run-and-Shoot enthusiast.

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