Cam Newton Released by Panthers After Failing to Find Trade

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2020

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Brian Blanco/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers released quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday after failing to find a trade partner.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney issued a statement thanking Newton for his contributions during his nine-year run in Charlotte: 

"Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas. Everyone saw his performances on the field. I had the privilege of seeing how hard he worked off the field, and his commitment to this team when no one was watching. He's the ultimate competitor and it physically hurts him to lose. He willed this team to victory on many occasions and will always be considered one of the greatest players in the history of this franchise. His contributions to this team, this community and the game of football will leave a lasting impact on our organization."

Releasing him saves the team $19.1 million in cap space for 2020 and leave just $2 million in dead money, per Spotrac.

The move comes after the Panthers agreed to a deal with free-agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater last Tuesday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The team also reportedly signed former XFL quarterback P.J. Walker on Monday, per ESPN's David Newton.

Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic first reported the likelihood of Newton's release as the team struggled to trade the veteran. 

Rapoport noted the Panthers allowed him to seek a trade at the start of free agency, although the quarterback accused the organization of manipulating the narrative. 

"You forced me into this," he wrote in an Instagram post.

The 30-year-old had been the Panthers' starter every week of his career when healthy from when he was first taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 until the 2019 season.

However, a Lisfranc injury in his foot forced him to the sideline after two rough starts last season. This came after a shoulder injury ended his 2018 campaign early, requiring offseason surgery and a lengthy rehab that continued into training camp.

The Panthers lost both games with Newton as a starter, with the quarterback throwing zero touchdown passes and one interception.

Kyle Allen took over and led Carolina to wins in his first four starts, although the league eventually caught up with him and the team missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. The squad ended the year with eight straight losses.

Carolina will turn to Bridgewater to begin its new era under head coach Matt Rhule while giving up on a player who has three Pro Bowl selections and an MVP award.

The veteran hasn't looked like himself in over a year, but he averaged over 3,500 passing yards and 22 touchdowns plus 600 rushing yards and seven touchdowns per season from 2011 to 2018. He led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015.

If he can replicate his past production with his arm and legs, Newton can provide excellent value to a variety of teams looking to upgrade at quarterback.

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