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Cam Newton makes my early bust list

By Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer

You can add Cam Newton to the list of players I won't draft this summer.

The Panthers announced that Newton would have offseason ankle surgery and be sidelined four months. That puts him on track to be ready for training camp if (and only if) he's on-time in his recovery.

When he does come back, he'll play behind an offensive line that isn't very strong upon first glance. Left tackle Jordan Gross was one of two linemen who retired and have yet to be replaced. Center Ryan Kalil is pretty much the only established quality starter they have left.

But that's good compared to Carolina's receiving corps: Each of their top four receivers from last year are no longer on the team. If the season started today the Panthers would line up with Marvin McNutt and Tavarres King at receiver. I'll admit that King has some minimal appeal but I've seen McNutt and can't see the Panthers reliably leaning on him.

This wouldn't be a problem if the Panthers attacked free agency but they whiffed on Hakeem Nicks, among others. They could consider someone out there like Santonio Holmes or Kenny Britt but it's not like they have a ton of cap room -- they're sitting on just under $8 million as of Tuesday. And those receivers kind of make me ill.

The Saints and Bucs' defenses have improved already, as have opponents in the NFC North and AFC North, each of whom will take on the Panthers in 2014. So will the champion Seahawks and the Eagles, respective division winners.

It could be a long year in Carolina and a longer year for Cam Newton.

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