17. Panthers (26): As prodigal son Cam Newton prepares to reclaim QB1 status in Carolina, you have to wonder if injured Sam Darnold — he’s guaranteed nearly $19 million in 2022 — is already entering the backup phase of a career that doesn’t yet span four seasons. Syndication Usa Today

Cam Newton returned to the Carolina Panthers and the NFL last week, literally announcing “I’M BACK” after scoring a rushing touchdown on his first snap.

He would later follow that up with a touchdown pass to cement his long-awaited return to the league.

The next step, of course, is for Newton to take back his spot as the starting quarterback in Carolina, a role he filled for nine seasons before being released in 2020 to join the New England Patriots.

Head coach Matt Rhule wouldn’t commit to the idea that Newton is the starter this weekend when the Panthers take on the Washington Football Team. However, he did say that Cam would be taking the majority of the first-team snaps and that “we’re trending that way.”

Rhule also offered tons of praise for Newton, his arm strength, and his playmaking abilities.

Matt Rhule seems very excited about the Second Cam Era in Carolina. Of course, he’s also going to make sure PJ Walker is ready to play as well. But it’s a good problem for Carolina to have, knowing they have two capable quarterbacks as needed.

But if Cam does start, it will be in front of the Charlotte crowd, who is sure to shower him with appreciation (at least until he has a turnover). Also, WFT’s head coach is Ron Rivera, who Newton played for in Carolina when the team went to the Super Bowl and Cam was named NFL MVP.

[Field Yates, Joe Person, Ellis L. Williams, Jonathan Alexander]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.