<
>

Panthers finally get a developmental quarterback in Brad Kaaya

play
Rivera expecting Cam to be ready for opener (1:43)

Panthers coach Ron Rivera is feeling good about QB Cam Newton's performance ahead of Carolina's Week 1 matchup with San Francisco. (1:43)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton won't play forever.

At least that is the mindset Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney had on Sunday when claiming former University of Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers.

Not that Hurney has any doubt the 28-year-old Newton and his surgically repaired shoulder will be ready for Sunday's opener at San Francisco.

He has none at all.

But Hurney is of the same belief that former Green Bay Packers general manager Ron Wolf had when it comes to quarterbacks.

"You're always trying to keep on or two quarterbacks in the pipeline," Hurney said.

Wolf drafted seven quarterbacks at Green Bay from the mid to late rounds from 1991-2001. He did this despite having one of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history, Brett Favre, who made a league-record 297 consecutive starts -- 321 counting playoffs.

The Panthers had no quarterback in the pipeline to one day replace Newton, who has missed starts in two of his past three seasons because of injuries and has been hit more than any quarterback in the league since 2011.

Backup Derek Anderson is 34 and in the last year of his contract. Joe Webb, released on Saturday, is 30 and was in the last year of his deal.

In Kaaya the Panthers have a player that can be developed to take over the backup role should Carolina not re-sign Anderson and possibly be ready to replace Newton should he be injured.

The Panthers hadn't drafted a developmental quarterback since Newton was the top pick of the 2011 draft. Former general manager Dave Gettleman, who was with the club the past four seasons, was comfortable with Anderson and Webb.

Hurney, who drafted Newton, selected five quarterbacks in mid to late rounds during his first stint as general manager.

Kaaya was a player the scouts and coaching staff liked prior to the 2016 draft, but Gettleman didn't pull the trigger on him. The Detroit Lions did, getting him in the sixth round.

"He's a guy that's got really good intangibles," Hurney said. "He's got a quick release, a very professional approach to the preseason. And he had a good preseason and shows promise just like Garrett Gilbert does.

"With those two guys we have two good young quarterbacks."

The Panthers signed Gilbert during the offseason to give Carolina an extra body while Newton rehabbed from March 30 surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff. The Panthers liked Gilbert enough to sign him to the practice squad after he cleared waivers.

So now the Panthers have two quarterbacks in the pipeline. They obviously are most high on Kaaya, whose mother Angela Means Kaaya is a former actress best known for her role as Felisha in the 1995 film "Friday."

"It does take time at that position," Hurney said. "To have two young guys that you feel you can work on and develop I feel is important."