When the Carolina Panthers announced that Cam Newton would undergo ankle surgery and be out until the middle of July, the casual NFL fan laughed it off. What does it really matter if he doesn’t have a meaningful game until the fall? However, people who play fantasy football understand that he will miss a lot of development time with what will likely be a good amount of new players.
Many Carolina fans were already a bit troubled by the fact that the team has failed to make any significant moves to replace the players they will be losing due to free agency after a successful 2013 season. Newton did not exactly have stellar targets to throw the ball to, but as of right now, there is no receiver of significance making a return.
Between now and July, the Panthers will be signing and drafting different targets for Newton to utilize. However, by him being out until the middle of July, he won’t have that development time in the offseason to get the timing down. Everything will be rushed in the final few weeks before the preseason starts up. Newton himself should be fully healthy and 100%, but he won’t be super familiar with the guys he will be throwing the ball to.
The good news is that the ankle surgery is not all that complicated, and Newton should be back to normal instead of it being an ongoing issue. In fact, there was a debate as to whether or not he needed surgery at all. The ligaments in his ankle are stretched out, and the surgery will tighten those back up so it won’t be nagging him during the prime of his career.
Carolina finished with one of the best records in the NFL, but they were one and done in the playoffs. With quite a bit of roster turnover, fans are hoping that they do not just drop back into mediocrity. The future is in Newton’s hands for them, and he seems up to the challenge to make it work. However, this surgery will put the pressure on him and his new receivers to be fast learners once he is cleared to play again. He won’t have a veteran like Steve Smith to fall back on when times are tough out there. All of a sudden, he is that veteran leader that the receivers will be looking towards to lead the way and handle pressure situations.