Panthers Release QB Cam Newton

Cam Newton warming up for the Carolina Panthers

And just like that, Cam Newton is no longer a member of the Carolina Panthers. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday afternoon that the former MVP has been released.

We already knew that Newton was unlikely to start the 2020 season with Carolina. After all, the organization handed out a lofty contract to Teddy Bridgewater, and they signed XFL star P.J. Walker to a pseudo-guaranteed deal.

However, seemingly no one expected this outcome.

For starters, lets review the various franchise records that Newton owns:

  • 29,041 passing yards
  • 182 passing touchdowns
  • 58 rushing touchdowns

The former first-overall pick also added an MVP award and a Super Bowl appearance.

Despite those accolades, today’s move made one thing abundantly clear: no organization was willing to give up anything of worth for Newton. While we saw the likes of Nick Foles (and his extraordinary cap hit) get traded, no teams felt the need to trade for a former regular-season MVP.

It wasn’t even like Newton was set to make a whole lot of money in 2020; Newton was attached to a $18.6MM base salary. This would be have been a more-than-tolerable financial commitment for a QB-needy team, and there wasn’t a risk of a long-term commitment.

Since money clearly wasn’t an issue, teams seem to be wary of Newton’s medicals (even if he recently passed a physical, per Schefter). The 30-year-old has notably dealt with a long list of injuries throughout his career, and his recent Lisfanc surgery was expected to keep him off the practice field until at least the middle of summer.

Despite all of these injuries, Newton has still been productive (when healthy). Even during his injury-shortened 2018 campaign, the quarterback completed a career-high 67.9-percent of his passes for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions (to go along with 488 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 101 carries).

More notably, Newton finished that campaign with a respectable 6-8 record, and he’s gone 38-22 since the start of the 2015 season. Say what you will of Newton, but he’s clearly shown that he has the ability to win a football game.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that a number of teams have already been (loosely) connected to Newton:

Clearly, Newton isn’t going to be signed as a definitive starter. In fact, it wouldn’t be shocking if Newton skips the teams listed above and opts to be a backup on a contender (we saw how that worked out for Bridgewater). Even if he does sign with one of the five teams above, there’s no guarantee that he begins the 2020 campaign as a starter.

Still, while Newton’s tenure with the Panthers may be over, his NFL career certainly is not. It may take a while for him to emerge atop a depth chart, but this certainly isn’t the last we’ve seen of Newton as a starting quarterback.

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