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Free agent quarterback Cam Newton re-joins Panthers 10 weeks after getting cut by Patriots

Related: Ex-Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has finally gotten the Covid-19 vaccine

New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Update 11/11/2021: Cam Newton re-joins Panthers 10 weeks after getting cut by Patriots

Things moved quickly for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Thursday. A short time after the initial report that the two would meet to talk about a potential reunion, the former league MVP has officially returned to the team he called home between 2011 and 2019.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Panthers are giving Newton a one-year contract that includes $4.5 million in full guarantees as well as a $1.5 million roster bonus. The deal itself has a value of up to $10 million.

Newton therefore has found a new home after remaining on the free agent market since his release from the New England Patriots in late August.

Original story 11/11/2021: Report: Former Patriots quarterback Cam Newton set to meet with the Panthers about potential reunion

Ever since his release from the New England Patriots in late August, Cam Newton has remained unsigned on the free agent market. Now, however, it seems as if he could be close to a return to the NFL.

According to a report by Jonathan M. Alexander of the Charlotte Observer, Newton is set to meet with the Carolina Panthers’ leadership on Thursday. The hope from the team’s perspective is to come to an agreement to bring its long-time starting quarterback back into the fold.

Newton, 32, originally entered the NFL as the Panthers’ first-round pick in the 2011 draft. The first overall player selected that year went on to spend nine seasons with the team, starting a combined 131 regular season and playoff games — among them Carolina’s loss in Super Bowl 50. Along the way, he was voted to three Pro Bowls and named the league’s Most Valuable Player once (2015).

A series of injuries, however, led the club to part ways with Newton after the 2019 season. The Panthers had failed to find a trade partner, releasing him rather unceremoniously.

The move paved the way for Newton to join the Patriots. He signed a one-year deal in New England in early July, and over the course of training camp earned the starting quarterback role in Year 1 after Tom Brady.

Newton started 15 of 16 regular season games but ended his 2020 season as one of the least efficient quarterbacks in all of football. While he did complete 242 of 368 pass attempts for a rate of 65.8 percent, he only gained 2,657 yards through the air while throwing just 8 touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions.

He was more productive as a runner — carrying the football 127 times for 602 yards and 12 touchdowns — but his first year in New England was largely a disappointment. Nonetheless, the team decided to bring him back on another one-year contract ahead of free agency.

With first-round rookie Mac Jones joining the team just a few weeks later, however, Newton faced some serious competition for the starting gig. He was the first quarterback up throughout training camp and preseason, but eventually was released on roster cutdown day in favor of Jones.

Prior to his release, Newton had missed some time due to an apparent misunderstanding with the league’s Covid-19 protocols. Now vaccinated, he could join the Panthers at any time if Thursday’s meeting is going well.