Cam Newton

Cam Newton

Less than two years after being released by the Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton is back in Charlotte looking to aid Carolina's struggling offense.

The Panthers signed Newton to a one-year deal Thursday afternoon (Nov. 11) that is worth up to $10 million for the remainder of the season. Newton is guaranteed $4.5 million and can earn a $1.5 million roster bonus.

The No. 1 pick by Carolina in the 2011 NFL Draft, Newton is the Panthers' franchise leader in passing yards (29,041), passing touchdowns (182), wins (68) and rushing touchdowns (58).

Newton -- the 2015 NFL MVP -- was initially released by the Panthers in March 2020 after head coach Matt Rhule took over as the team's new head coach. Newton went on to sign a free agent deal with New England, where he played the 2020 season.

In 2020, Newton started 15 games for the Patriots, going 7-8 while completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns -- his most rushing scores in a season since he had 14 as a rookie in 2011.

Newton was ultimately released by New England during the preseason as the Patriots turned to rookie Mac Jones to take over as the team's starting quarterback. Now, he'll have a chance to rescue Carolina's offense from the basement of the NFL.

Currently, the Panthers rank 27th in the league in total offense (318.7 yards per game) and 29th in passing offense (208.2 yards per game). The Panthers recently placed quarterback Sam Darnold on injured reserve with a shoulder injury that Rhule expects could keep him out 3-4 weeks.

Darnold has been far from what Carolina hoped he'd be when the team traded a second- and third-round pick for him ahead of the 2021 season. After leading the Panthers to a 3-0 start, Darnold has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and 10 interceptions in Carolina's last six games.

While Carolina seems ready to hand the starting job back to Newton, he likely won't see much action in the Panthers game against the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday.

P.J. Walker is expected to start under center, with newly acquired veteran Matt Barkley acting as his backup. The Panthers could use Newton in some special packages Sunday, but they'll probably want him to wait until he has more practice reps under his belt before throwing him out there as a starter.

If Newton can adjust quickly, he'll have a chance to start Carolina's matchup with the Washington Football Team next Sunday. Washington is coached by Ron Rivera, who coached the Panthers from Newton's first season in 2011 to his last in 2019.