The Carolina Panthers have released quarterback Cam Newton after nine seasons with the franchise.
The Panthers released a statement prior to the official start of free agency revealing that the team had given Newton permission to seek a trade this offseason and have now followed that up with one confirming his release.
With no clear suitors having emerged, Newton has now become a free agent and can sign for any team.
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“Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas,” general manager Marty Hurney said. “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.”
Newton himself responded on social media by insisting the decision was against his wishes, writing: “Stop with the word play! I never asked for it!”
“There is no dodging this one,” he added. “I love the Panthers to death and will always love you guys!
The Panthers have since agreed a three-year, $63m deal with Teddy Bridgewater, who earned another shot at a permanent starting job last season with an impressive five-game stretch in the absence of Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints.
As for Newton, a Lisfranc fracture saw his 2019 campaign end prematurely as he was placed on injured reserve after just two games, giving Kyle Allen the opportunity to feature 13 times.
Allen finished 303 of 489 passing for 3,322 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he was traded to the Washington Redskins on Monday after the Panthers agreed a deal with XFL star quarterback P.J. Walker.