Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is headed back to his first NFL home.
Newton and the Carolina Panthers agreed to a deal pending a physical, the team announced Thursday. Newton will be back with the team that selected him No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft as the Panthers look to replace injured starter Sam Darnold.
Newton appeared in three games for the New England Patriots this preseason and completed 14 passes on 21 attempts for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception before being cut on Aug. 31. He missed three consecutive days of practice in late August due to what head coach Bill Belichick deemed a COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding.”
Newton and the Patriots agreed to a one-year deal worth close to $14 million in March following his first season with the squad.
Newton excelled to start the 2020 season before testing positive for the coronavirus in early October, and after missing the team’s Week 4 loss to Kansas City he was inconsistent while the Patriots dealt with injuries to key players such as wide receiver Julian Edelman, center David Andrews and running back Rex Burkhead.
Newton ended the season throwing for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions while rushing for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished with career lows as a starter in completions, passing yards, and touchdowns as the Patriots finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Newton signed with New England as Tom Brady’s replacement after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Panthers.
Newton became an NFL star during his time in Carolina, which included Newton winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, being named NFL MVP in 2015 and leading the Panthers to Super Bowl 50. Newton was named to the Pro Bowl three times and left the Panthers as the franchise record-holder for passing yards in a career.
Newton’s exit from Carolina following the 2019 season came after injuries significantly hampered his final two seasons and as the franchise underwent significant changes under new owner David Tepper.
Newton entered the league after an unforgettable 2010 season at Auburn. He took the SEC by storm in his only season with the Tigers by throwing for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 1,473 yards and 20 additional scores.
Newton’s efforts earned him the Heisman Trophy — making him Auburn’s third-ever Heisman winner alongside quarterback Pat Sullivan and running back Bo Jackson — and helped the Tigers put together a 14-0 record and capture their first national championship since 1957.
Newton could make his 2021 regular-season debut Sunday, when the Panthers play the Arizona Cardinals on the road.