Now that the Carolina Panthers are out of the playoff race, the team is sitting former NFL MVP Cam Newton for the rest of the season. The Panthers will reportedly start Taylor Heinicke under center this week against the Falcons. After the Panthers’ 12-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, Newton said he’d been dealing with “shoulder soreness” as Carolina lost six consecutive games.

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Newton finished the night with his worst statistical game of the season in almost every category, with just 4.5 passing yards per attempt, 131 total passing yards, and a 55.2 completion percentage. Newton is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt on 67.9 percent completion this season. Clearly, something was off with Cam’s game.


Through 14 games, Newton has thrown 23 touchdowns vs. 13 interceptions. His QBR of 57.4 is the highest its been since his MVP 2015 campaign.

After dropping their last six games, the Panthers sit at 6-8 through the first 14 games of the season, and they’re all but mathematically eliminated from making the playoffs this season (ESPN’s Football Power Index gives them a 1 percent chance to capture a berth). Another rationale for sitting the three-time Pro Bowler could be just allowing him to jump-start his offseason rehab now.