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Trevor Lawrence, Panthers

Why the Panthers should tank for Trevor Lawrence in 2021

The Carolina Panthers are currently in a sticky spot.

They fired their long-time head coach Ron Rivera with a few games left in the 2019 NFL season. They signed former Baylor coach Matt Rhule to a seven-year contract, signaling a rebuild. Then, Luke Kuechly retired.

But despite the plans for a rebuild, the Panthers want to keep their franchise quarterback, Cam Newton, around for at least one more season. When Newton is healthy, the Panthers are one of the best and most dangerous teams in the NFC.

But with so little to gain with Newton playing, but much to gain from another potentially quarterback-rich draft in 2021, would the Panthers be better off tanking for, say, Trevor Lawrence?

You can take it to the bank they would be.

Here’s what we know about Cam Newton. Newton, when healthy, is one of the league’s most dominant players. He could be considered a pioneer as a system quarterback in college transitioning well to the pros.

But we also know that he hasn’t been the same quarterback since his 2015 NFL MVP season. While he has taken the Panthers to the playoffs once since then, he’s either been marred by inconsistency (2016) or injuries (2018).

Turning 31 in May, Newton is a high risk for the Panthers.

But here is what we know about Trevor Lawrence: he’s a once-in-a-generation talent under center. If all goes right this season, he could leave as one of the greatest college quarterbacks ever. It’s common knowledge he will still go No. 1 in the 2021 NFL Draft, even if he sits out/gets hurt.

With nothing to lose and possibly more to gain, the Panthers should definitely tank to get Lawrence.

Rhule’s seven-year contract is letting Panthers nation know that this will be a full-on cultural rebuild. This process includes coaches wanting the players that fit their system and ideology. A player of Lawrence’s caliber will come in most likely injury-free and most importantly: with youth. In Newton’s case, he will have a full 10 years on Lawrence by next year, and a banged-up body.

No need to bet the house on Newton when a talent like Lawrence will be available.

So to conclude, it’s okay to let Newton play this season. But this season in the Rhule camp should be seen as a lame-duck season. Let the younger players develop, Newton play, and Christian McCaffrey get his yards. Once 2021 comes, the Panthers will finally meet their new man.