The Panthers are hopeful that quarterback Cam Newton‘s health will be better during the 2019 season and head coach Ron Rivera said on ESPN Friday that the team thinks Newton will be ready for camp after having shoulder surgery.
Rivera also talked about the need to bolster the offensive line in hopes of keeping Newton from taking the kinds of hits that could sideline him. With center Ryan Kalil retiring, right tackle Daryl Williams headed for free agency and left tackle Matt Kalil injured much of the time, it seems obvious that the team will be looking for offensive line help this offseason.
Rivera confirmed as much during his television appearance and said the draft and free agency are both avenues they’ll use to do that. That’s not the only offensive addition they’ll think about making, however.
“But also we’ll look at playmakers,” Rivera said. “We’ll look at guys that when the ball gets in their hands, they take the pressure off the quarterback. Whether it be a runner, a receiver, a tight end … We’re going forward knowing that we’ve got to do things to make our team better, and first and foremost is we’ve got to protect the quarterback and put playmakers around him.”
The Panthers have taken offensive playmakers — running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver D.J. Moore — in the first round of the last two drafts, which may make the line a better bet if they go for an offensive player early in this year’s draft.