Why Cam Newton is No Longer a Carolina Panther

Written by Shawn S.

I’ve been prepared that Cam Newton would not start another game for the Carolina Panthers since September last year.

This has definitely been a communications nightmare for the team. Publicly, the Panthers should have never made the (false) statement that they had given Cam and his agency permission to seek a trade, implying that Cam made this request. The Panthers should’ve never announced anything regarding Cam until he was cut or traded.

Should the Panthers have released Cam sooner than coming to an agreement with Teddy Bridgewater? You can say that, but if the choice was keep him until he could pass a physical to trade him or until you get another quarterback, they made the correct business choice. Cam’s fate was ultimately sealed when the Panthers learned that they would be able to get Bridgewater for less than the market would command… and before you say that Teddy is making more than Cam this year ($900,000), did you see what Ryan Tannehill got; quarterbacks are out here banking like MLB pitchers now!

Cam isn’t completely without fault in how this relationship fell apart. Here is why Cam is no longer a Carolina Panther and why the team wasn’t able to trade him:

  1. Cam did not disclose his foot injury during the preseason last year until after the first two games of the regular season.
  2. Cam had every right to elect to choose his own foot surgeon and rehabilitation team and plan; his fault laid in not communicating with the team on his surgery and the progress of his rehabilitation. Several sources have indicated that the Instagram video of Cam working out at the Panthers practice facility was the first time new head coach Matt Rhule saw anything from Cam in-regards to his progress. Sorry to break it to you, but teams are not going to commit to players or trade for players based off videos from social media.
  3. There are still legitimate questions regarding Cam’s health. Which also brings up questions on if he is still a dual-threat quarterback. One thing for sure is that when Cam is completely healthy, no quarterback can touch him on the ground but as a passer, Cam is mediocre at best (Let’s be real Panthers’ fans… He misses on check-downs and overthrows on short and medium throws constantly, something a nine-year pro should be past). Take away the ground game and what kind of quarterback do you have?
  4. Since Cam’s surgery, the timeline of him being able to take a physical has always been March/April. Well, bad timing on that because coronavirus is here and it’s a little hard to get physicals done with players right now. Cam has no trade value without a physical so since he can’t take one with the Panthers, no one is giving up assets for him. Secondly, for a trade to be approved, he’ll need to pass another physical with his new team. The NFL has suspended player physicals until the coronavirus pandemic has passed. (UPDATE: Newton was able to pass a physical on Monday in Atlanta arranged by the Panthers and his agency which lead to his release today.)
  5. The market is limited for quarterbacks; the Panthers only had exploratory talks with the Bears and Chargers. That Redskins thing wasn’t going to happen; nice to talk about though. Plus, Kyle Allen! For a new team, is Cam willing to not be a starter this year?

In summary, Cam Newton was never going to play for the Carolina Panthers this year. No team, including the Panthers, were going to commit to paying him $19.1 million this year without being able to take a look at his right shoulder and left foot.

Ugly? Sure. There are no perfect sides. The active player relationship Cam had with the Panthers should have ended differently, whether now or at the end of Cam’s career but one thing was evident since last September, Cam’s time in Carolina was over.

About the author

Shawn S.