Panthers Release Quarterback Cam Newton, The Team’s Former No. 1 Pick

Written by Ann Brown
The Carolina Panthers released quarterback Cam Newton, the team’s former No. 1 pick. Newton reportedly isn’t too happy about it. In this Oct. 27, 2019, photo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Big NFL news. The Carolina Panthers have released quarterback Cam Newton, the team’s No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft.

Newton is recovering from foot surgery. Before his release, he had a physical in Atlanta that was organized by the Panthers and his agency, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Newton passed the physical.

Fans went to Twitter to express their anger about the release. One tweeted: “Bye @Panthers I am no longer a fan – where Cam goes, I go.”

Others tweeted for another team to pick Newton up. One fan tweeted: “The @AtlantaFalcons should pick up #CamNewton immediately!! Cam, Julio, Calvin, and Gurley would be hella nasty.”

“Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “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.”

In an Instagram post, Newton said he was “free and hungry.”

Before releasing Cam, the Panthers signed former New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million deal.

“After the Panthers completed the Bridgewater deal, it became necessary for them to release Newton to clear the $21.1 million that he was scheduled to count against the salary cap in 2020. Releasing Newton saves the team $19.1 million in cap space with only $2 million in dead money,” ESPN reported.

In addition to Newton, the Panthers also traded quarterback Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins and signed P.J. Walker out of the XFL.

The Panthers released the 30-year-old Newton because they couldn’t trade him. “He had surgery in December, and teams can’t bring him in for a physical or workout because the NFL has ceased such activity during the coronavirus pandemic,” ESPN reported.

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“Every year difficult decisions are made and they are never easy,” Hurney said in a statement. “We have been working with Cam and his agent to find the best fit for him moving forward and he will always be a Carolina Panther in our hearts.”

Still, he was released, ending his nine years with the team. Recently, the  Panthers announced that they had granted the 2015 NFL MVP permission to seek a trade. Newton disputed that, tweeting that the Panthers “forced me into this.”

Newton, who has suffered several injuries since 2016, only played two games last season after fracturing his left foot during the preseason, Fox News reported.

“Right now, he’s worth nothing until such time as people can work him out and give him a physical — their own doctors give him a physical and then work him out,” Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian told ESPN. “It’s unfortunate. He’s got to prove he’s healthy for a number of reasons, and right now he can’t do that, for a number of reasons.”