“Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas," Panthers General Manager Marty Hurney said in a written 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.”
Newton posted videos and photos of himself working out on Instagram and wrote that he is “free and hungry.”
The Panthers previously had granted Newton and his representatives permission to seek a trade, but nothing materialized. The Chicago Bears appeared interested but instead traded for Nick Foles last week. There was speculation that the Los Angeles Chargers were interested, and they remain a potential landing spot now that he’s a free agent. But they could stand pat and go with Tyrod Taylor as their starter.
The New England Patriots could have a need at quarterback after Tom Brady’s free agent departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the Patriots have a tight salary cap situation and just added Brian Hoyer to go with Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler. A person familiar with the Patriots’ planning said soon after the Hoyer move was made Sunday that the team probably was done at quarterback but left open the possibility that could change if the right quarterback became available at the right price.
There had been speculation about Newton reuniting in Washington with Ron Rivera, the newly hired coach of the Redskins who previously coached Newton with Carolina. But the Redskins traded for Kyle Allen, who took over as the Panthers’ starter last season after Newton was sidelined by a foot injury, to team with Dwayne Haskins.
Newton’s situation is complicated by the coronavirus-related travel restrictions placed on players and teams by the NFL. Players are not permitted to travel to meet with teams or undergo physicals. Teams are not permitted to travel to meet with players.
The NFL Physicians Society has informed the league and the NFL Players Association that its members no longer would conduct physicals, with the novel coronavirus pandemic stretching medical resources. But teams still are permitted by the league to arrange for a free agent or traded player to undergo a physical by a third-party doctor in the player’s hometown or nearby. According to a person familiar with the situation, most of those third-party doctors conducting such physicals are orthopedists who don’t have offices in hospitals affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
Newton had a physical Monday in Atlanta, according to ESPN. Even so, interested teams might be wary of moving forward with Newton without their own medical staffs involved. Newton underwent two shoulder surgeries in recent years and missed almost all of last season with the foot injury.
He was the top selection in the 2011 draft by the Panthers and was the league’s MVP when he led Carolina to a 15-1 regular season record and a Super Bowl appearance in the 2015 season. Newton, who turns 31 in May, threw for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns with 108 interceptions in nine seasons with the Panthers. He also was a rugged runner whose dual-purpose abilities helped redefine how quarterback is played in the modern NFL.
He was selected to three Pro Bowls and was the league’s offensive rookie of the year in 2011. The Panthers, though, are retooling their roster with the arrival of their new coach, Matt Rhule. Bridgewater is familiar with the system of Rhule’s offensive coordinator, Joe Brady, formerly a Saints assistant before his highly successful stint at LSU working with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow.
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