Yes, the Panthers made it harder for Cam Newton to find a new team

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In cutting quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday, eight days after the free-agent market opened, the Panthers were acting fully within their rights. However, that didn’t make it right.

Stephen A. Smith flagged the issue, and he makes a good point. The Panthers squatted on Newton in a failed effort to trade him. In so doing, they ultimately dumped him onto the open market after many teams that were looking for quarterbacks found them.

Of course, there likely weren’t many teams that would have lined up for Newton if he’d been available last Monday. The Bears may have looked into signing him instead of trading for Nick Foles. The Colts possibly would have explored Newton instead of Philip Rivers, but they were looking primarily for a one-year bridge quarterback, not someone who presumably wants a longer-term commitment. The Buccaneers seemed to be hell bent on signing Tom Brady.

The other teams that could have been interested in Cam earlier haven’t added a veteran starter yet: The Chargers, the Patriots, Washington, the Dolphins, and the Raiders (who in theory could/would dump Derek Carr and keep Marcus Mariota as a backup/insurance policy).

Of course, Newton’s availability amid the COVID-19 procedures complicates the process of checking out Newton’s foot, ankle, shoulder, and/or any other banged-up body part via a physical administered by team doctors. But if the Panthers had cut Newton shortly after the waiver period opened in February, he would have had a head start on the market — and a full and fair chance to get a physical.

That’s precisely what the Panthers did with tight end Greg Olsen, releasing him shortly after the Super Bowl and giving him an opportunity to find a new home well before the market opened. So if they did it for Olsen, why didn’t they do it for Newton?

The team would surely say that they held out hope of trading Newton, and that he wasn’t healthy in early February to permit a tentative deal to be done. But the Panthers surely could have gotten a rough feel for what would potentially be available for Newton if he checked out medically. If nothing was available recently, chances are that no one was expressing interest in making a significant offer for Newton.

That said, nothing in the last year of Newton’s contract forced the Panthers to move quickly. Plenty of players have triggers that force the issue early in the league year, like running back Todd Gurley had with the Rams. And the Panthers could have held onto Newton’s rights for even longer, especially since it appears that there will be no offseason program for which he could have shown up and risked an injury that could have made 2020 salary fully guaranteed.

Still, it’s fair to question the Panthers for keeping Newton off the market in the failed hope of getting compensation for him. Given what he’s done for the franchise since arriving in 2011, Newton deserved much better treatment on the way out the door. Especially since Greg Olsen, who arrived that same year, got that much better treatment — and a much fairer chance to land with a new team.

25 responses to “Yes, the Panthers made it harder for Cam Newton to find a new team

  1. They couldn’t help it Bridgewater took his time making his decision. Once he was signed, the Panthers was pretty clear with Cam. Don’t put this on the Panthers.

  2. Blame the agent, plain and simple.
    That’s why you put early bonuses and language in the contract to force an individual team’s hand.
    Though it was probably always a futile pursuit, the Panthers have every right to try and turn their option into a tangible draft pick.

  3. I think you’re missing the report that Panthers tried to retain Cam but he wanted an extension they weren’t willing to give. Remember the commitment video. They then went after Bridgewater and tried to trade Cam but couldn’t.

  4. What’s the big deal? They wanted to try to get a pick via trade. If Newton weren’t so overrated, maybe someone would have given a pick for him or he’d be signed by now. Remember kids, incredible physical ability does not equal great quarterback year in, year out.

  5. Uhm, yeah, ok.
    But after careful consideration, I’ve decided I don’t feel sorry for Cam.
    I mean, he still has his fashion empire, right?

  6. In this case Cam got caught in a bad situation. But it goes both ways. Players use the systems where they come out on top sometimes also. Zeke Elliot held out when he was under contract for 2 more years and Jerry Jones was dumb enough to give him anew contract. The system works imperfectly for both sides.

  7. What does the team owe Cam Newton?
    He was selected #1, paid a lot of money on his rookie deal.
    He was paid alot of money on his second deal.
    He choked in the super bowl.
    He has had some years where he didn’t earn his pay.

    It’s regrettable he got hurt, and cut, but let’s be real, he’s earned $121 million.
    He can afford to take a 1 year prove it deal, no tagging allowed.
    If he can still be productive he will get a spot in 2021.

    And the Panthers didn’t squat on him like other teams have done to vets, cutting them at the end of August. The worst that can be said is they waited 1-2 weeks while they tried to trade him, and to see whhich QB THEY could get. No sense in cutting him without a QB.

    Cam was not mistreated.
    Next time have the agent put in an earlier roster bonus.

  8. Dumping Carr would be the best thing the Raiders could do. Forget his sub-average play on the field. He just rubs me wrong. Too comfortable or something

  9. No doubt the Panthers and Bengals both have made punk moves to the extent both Newton and Dalton have virtually no market for their services.

  10. To paraphrase Vince McMahon, the Panthers didn’t screw Cam, Cam screwed Cam with his play. Give Teddy a chance.

  11. And when did the Bucs try and sign Winston? It’s a waiting game. You have to protect for possibilities. Plan A,B and C.Enter plan A or B: Bridgewater. Bucs got plan A.

    But then, there was no way the Bucs or the Panthers were EVER going to pay for either unless total worse case scenario. So they planned for doom. Sometimes you need to plan for doom. Should be kind of obvious. Look out your window…

  12. Also, The Panthers have a New Owner, GM and Coach who were not around for Cam taking the team to the Superbowl.

  13. Now sure how Cam’s camp could even conceive or demand a contract extension to a new owner who has seen Cam injured and not playing since he bought the team. And also unsure of his recovery efforts going forward??

  14. Since no team would offer anything in trade, it’s hard to claim the Panthers did anything wrong. There was no demand for Newton. He’s damaged goods as far as the rest of the NFL was concerned. Plus, there were a lot of better, healthy options available due to the unusual number of good veteran QB free agents.

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