Donovan McNabb to Panthers: Give Newton some help

It’s been a maddening offseason for Cam Newton, who’s watched his top three wide receivers — Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, and Ted Ginn Jr. — depart via free agency.

With the cupboard emptied, the Panthers’ franchise quarterback has been stripped of weapons — a no-no in the eyes of Donovan McNabb.

McNabb, a former NFL quarterback and current FOX Sports analyst, told ESPN.com that Carolina has “got to give [Newton] some help.”

“The quarterback is only as good as the people around him,” McNabb said. “If you don’t ever want him to throw to a player that can create big plays out of the passing game, it’s not going to go well.”

“For him, I’m just wondering what they are doing to build around him. You lose Brandon LaFell, you lose Steve Smith, Ted Ginn’s gone. All you have at this point is Greg Olsen.”

Olsen, the Panthers’ starting tight end, led the team in receptions last season with 73.

Carolina did make one notable addition, signing veteran wideout Jerricho Cotchery, who caught 10 touchdown passes with the Steelers in 2013.

McNabb, however, is unimpressed.

“[A receiver] doesn’t have to be considered a No. 1, but in their offense you need a top dog,” McNabb said. “We’ve seen what Steve Smith can do in that offense. We’ve seen how LaFell has been able to get catches off of Steve Smith.

“What are they going to get them off? Jerricho Cotchery? What was Jerricho Cotchery in Pittsburgh? A No. 4? A 3?”

McNabb may be hard on Cotchery, but his criticisms about the Panthers’ passing offense are legitimate.

Fortunately for the club, next month’s draft is considered the deepest in years, especially at receiver. The Panthers hold the No. 28 overall pick, and should be able to come away with a solid prospect, such as USC’s Marqise Lee or FSU’s Kelvin Benjamin, both of whom offer immense upside and growth potential for Newton.

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, MSN.com, FanSided.com, and About.com. Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (zpkelb@gmail.com).