Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is essential to the success of the franchise. Any setback he faces has the capability of rocking his team to the core. His struggles last season (among other issues) resulted in the reigning NFC champions missing the postseason altogether. Now, the team's latest concern has to be a Shoulder injury that could linger into the start of team activities.

The shoulder injury

Cam Newton will be forced to undergo surgery on his rotator cuff, which was injured during a Week 14 game against the San Diego Chargers. The Panthers quarterback will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on March 30 at Carolinas Medical Center.

According to the team's head trainer, the quarterback won't be able to start a throwing program until 12 weeks after the shoulder surgery.

Following the shoulder injury, the Panthers limited the time Newton spent throwing in practice for the remainder of the season. He played in the rest of the team's games, though, which could have exacerbated the injury. The team was planning on taking it easy with their star quarterback this offseason anyway, but now they will have no choice once he goes under the knife next Thursday.

Looking toward next season

Even if he misses OTAs, Newton is still expected to be ready to go by the time training camp opens up. With Ted Ginn Jr. gone and the draft still coming up, the Panthers will likely need all the time they can get to get on the same page.

The shoulder injury certainly doesn't do them any favors in that respect.

Following his MVP campaign of 2015, Newton struggled last season. Along with the shoulder malady, a concussion also forced him to miss a game. He was benched once for a dress code violation. Most importantly, though, he didn't perform on the field. His 52.9% completion rate was the worst of his career, and his 14 interceptions was close to the worst of his career. For the Panthers to bounce back from a disappointing 6-10 season in 2016, their star quarterback is going to have to play like one.