There will be no Panthers reunion in Washington between Ron Rivera and Cam Newton.
The 31-year-old quarterback has re-signed with the New England Patriots on a one-year deal, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. The deal is worth close to $14 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, a major pay raise from the veteran minimum salary he earned last season.
Newton's deal with New England comes just days before the free agency window opens, as the negotiating period begins on March 15. The quarterback was scheduled to hit free agency had a deal not been reached with the Patriots.
With Newton now off the board, Washington's search for a quarterback continues. On Wednesday, Rivera said that the team is "going to continue to explore all the options that are out there" at the quarterback position. Rivera was specifically asked about Newton, too, but declined to comment, saying he isn't permitted to talk about other team's players.
Washington needs a quarterback, but there's no guarantee they would have even gone after Newton had he hit the open market, anyway. In fact, sources told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay in February that they didn't expect Washington to make a push for the 2015 NFL MVP.
Rivera had the chance to sign Newton last offseason when he remained unsigned for months and decided against that. There's little to think the team's stance would have changed one year later.
In 2020, Newton started 15 games for the Patriots -- missing one due to a positive COVID-19 test. Newton finished the season throwing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions but rushed for a Patriots QB record 592 yards. Newton also added 12 touchdowns on the ground, the second-most he's ever totaled in a season.