The Carolina Panthers cannot buy an easy offseason. For the second time in three years, quarterback Cam Newton underwent surgery on his throwing shoulder, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.

Newton's surgery was "successfully performed" by Panthers team doc Dr. Pat Connor (can you imagine what a press release for an "unsuccessful surgery" would sound like??) and the team announced Newton would begin his rehab on his throwing shoulder "immediately." 

The Panthers shut down Newton at the end of the season, with the former MVP missing a pair of games at the close of the year. 

I wrote about Newton's injury situation in early December: it was obvious he was playing hurt and fighting through some shoulder issues for the second half of the season. Carolina kept pulling him in Hail Mary situations, in case the flags weren't big and red enough already.

By the end of the year, Newton's arm strength was shot. He couldn't throw more than 10 yards down the field against the Saints in the home Monday night game that was Carolina's last real chance to make the playoffs. 

Newton admitted as much during the season, noting he was battling through the injury and that he wouldn't be surprised if he was shut down.

One huge difference between now and the offseason before the 2017 year is the timetable. Newton held off on surgery until March two years ago and it clearly affected his ability to be ready for the season. Undergoing surgery in January is a major advantage in terms of getting ready for the 2019 season.

Two years ago, Newton didn't even attempt his first pass post surgery until June 26, 2017.

All of this is assuming, of course, the Panthers plan on having him back in time. Owner David Tepper hinted at the possibility of Newton sitting out a season like Andrew Luck did in 2017. Tepper clearly wasn't saying he believed that would be the plan, just that the Panthers need to get Newton healthy. He's not wrong. 

Right now, given the lack of timetable presented by the Panthers, anything is on the table. It sounds generic, but it's very much a "wait and see" situation for Carolina as Newton continues to recover.