The Panthers are shutting down QB Cam Newton for the rest of the season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a smart move by Carolina. Newton's shoulder has obviously become a bigger problem over the past few weeks, and the Panthers are all but eliminated from the playoff picture. We'll see if Newton needs another surgery on that shoulder or if some rest will get him back to 100%. His absence will leave Taylor Heinicke as Carolina's starter for the last 2 weeks. Undrafted out of Old Dominion back in 2015, Heinicke has attempted just 5 regular-season NFL passes. He's not a Week 16 fantasy option and is a downgrade for all of Carolina's skill-position guys. RB Christian McCaffrey is the only reliable fantasy play on the team.

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The 1-year deal QB Cam Newton recently agreed to with the Patriots falls well short of being clear starter money. Newton starts out at $5.1 million for the coming season. That number rises to $6.6 million if he starts all year, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss, and $8.6 million if he starts and the Pats reach the playoffs. With all incentives, the contract could climb as high as $13.6 million. Rather than committing to Newton as the 2021 starter, though, the Patriots appear to be committing to him as QB insurance. We'll see whether competition comes via the draft. Newton's deal does suggest that New England likely won't sign another big-name QB in free agency (or trade) -- but certainly doesn't rule out that option. Treat Newton as the likeliest Patriots starter in best-ball drafts for now.

QB Cam Newton and the Patriots have agreed to a new 1-year deal, according to The Boston Globe's Jim McBride. Newton was a major disappointment with New England last season, averaging just 177 passing yards and less than half a passing score across 15 games. In his defense, he dealt with COVID in the middle of the season and had very little to work with as far as pass-catching weapons. We'll see what the Patriots do to address that 2nd issue over the next couple of months. Newton at least remained a threat with his legs last year, racking up 592 yards and 12 TDs on the ground. This move shouldn't preclude the Pats from taking a QB in the 1st round of next month's draft.

Patriots QB Cam Newton was benched in the 4th quarter of Thursday night's loss to the Rams, finishing with 119 scoreless yards and a pick-6 on 9-of-16 passing. HC Bill Belichick said afterwards, though, that Newton remains the starter going forward. Frankly, the Pats don't have a better option. While Newton's arm isn't what it used to be, New England's lack of weapons is the much bigger problem Cam has now fallen short of 120 passing yards in 3 straight games and 4 of his last 5. Only his rushing ability makes him a QB2 the rest of the way.

Patriots QB Cam Newton was pulled with his team trailing 33-6 in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game vs. the 49ers. He was abysmal in this one, completing 9 of 15 passes for 98 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs. Newton has 0 TDs and 5 INTs in 2 games since returning from the COVID list We imagine the Pats will go back to him, but we'll see what we hear over the next couple of days.

Update: HC Bill Belichick said, "Yeah, absolutely," when asked after the game if Newton remains his starting QB.

The Patriots had at least 1 and possibly 2 COVID tests come back positive on Friday, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates report. So the Patriots-Broncos game -- which was already pushed back a week -- is again in jeopardy. We'll continue to update this situation as we learn more.

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