CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Cam Newton's era ended in Carolina, when the Panthers launched the 30-year-old quarterback after nine seasons.
The move became a mere formality, after the Panthers made it clear last week that they were leaving Newton, giving him permission to seek an exchange and then agreeing to a three-year, $ 63 million contract with the quarterback. free agent Teddy Bridgewater about 90 minutes later.
On Monday night, Newton posted on his Instagram account that he was "more hungry" now because he is "unemployed".
"Cam meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas," said Marty Hurney, general manager of Panthers, in a statement on Tuesday. “Everyone saw their performances on the field. I was privileged to see how much he worked outside the field and his commitment to this team when no one was watching. He is the final competitor and it hurts physically to lose. He wished this team to be victorious on many occasions and will always be considered one of the greatest players in the history of this franchise. "
Hurney added: "Your contributions to this team, this community and the football game will have a lasting impact on our organization."
The separation did not end well.
After the Panthers announced that Newton was free to seek a deal, QB went to Twitter, posting a message addressed to the front office that said: “Stop the wordplay !! I never asked !! There is no way to avoid this; I love Panthers to the death and I will always love you !! Please don't try to interpret or manipulate the narrative and act the way I want it: you forced me to do it. "
Given the inevitable result of a break between Newton and Panthers, it was not surprising that no team was willing to switch to Newton.
Newton now becomes a free agent and can sign on with another NFL team right away.
The measure frees $ 19.1 million in salary space for the Panthers. They will have to absorb $ 2 million in cash from the ceiling.
Christian McCaffrey, vice president of Panthers All-Pro, thanked Newton on Instagram on Tuesday, posting: “You changed the way I approach the game and put the fun back to me. I always owe you that. I speak for Carolinas when I say thank you for all the memories and smiles you brought us. Love it! "
Newton joined the Panthers in 2011 as the best choice in the draft after winning a national championship and the Heisman Trophy at Auburn. He immediately joined as a full-back and played 400 yards in each of the first two matches.
Newton went on to have a franchise record of 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns in nine seasons with the Panthers and played 58 touchdowns, the highest number ever recorded by an NFL quarterback.
His best season came in 2015, when he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record in the regular season and an NFC championship when he played 3,837 yards and combined 35 touchdowns on the way to earning league MVP honors.
But Newton struggled with a 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos and was widely criticized for not jumping on a loose ball after a Von Miller strip bag later in the game. Subsequently, the overwhelmed Newton answered questions about the loss with abbreviated answers before abruptly leaving the interview session.
Newton became a fan favorite on the pitch in Carolina early in his term, worshiping young fans, pretending to rip his shirt like Superman during the touchdown celebrations and then handing football to young fans.
In the field, he used his 6-foot-5, 240-pound chiseled structure to run over defenders in Carolina's zone attack and his strength and dodge to turn almost certain bags into runs in the first casualties.
But during his tenure in Carolina, he was hit more than any quarterback in NFL history – which may have affected him physically.
He underwent surgery for a partially torn rotator cuff on his right shoulder in the last off-season, after struggling to throw the ball over 20 yards in the second half of the 2018 season. He returned to the field last summer at the training, but hurt his foot in the third game of the preseason in New England. He fought back to start the first two games of the regular season, but it was evident that he was not the same player and ended up being placed in the injured reserve, where he underwent surgery for a Lisfranc fracture.
He lost his last eight games for the Panthers.
There are still doubts about Newton's health, which could limit his options at a free agency, especially with doctors currently unable to subject players to medical examinations because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"They could have done it two weeks ago," tweeted the former Torrey Smith panther recipient. "Terrible time for a Qb."
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