CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Panthers have released veteran quarterback Cam Newton after nine seasons, further signaling a new era is underway in Charlotte under new head coach Matt Rhule. The move can be viewed as a procedural formality after the team made it clear they were moving on from Newton when they gave him permission to seek a trade, then came to terms with free agent QB Teddy Bridgewater soon after.
The move frees up more than $19 million in salary cap space for the Panthers. Newton is now a free-agent and can sign with another team immediately.
The record-setting dual threat quarterback led the Panthers to an NFC title and an appearance in Super Bowl 50 in the 2015-2016 season. Newton became the first player in NFL history with at least 30 passing touchdowns (35) and 10 rushing touchdowns (10) in a single season.
Cam was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft by Carolina. Newton went on to throw a franchise-record 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns in nine seasons with the Panthers and ran for 58 touchdowns, the most ever by an NFL quarterback.
“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.”
The key question for teams interested in Newton now is his health. He had surgery for a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder last offseason. He returned in 2019, but injured his foot in the third preseason game at New England. He battled back to start the first two regular-season games, but was eventually placed on injured reserve where he had surgery for a Lisfranc fracture.
Panthers owner David Tepper released a statement at the time regarding Newton that read, “I wish him all the best.”
Newton earned a record of 68-55-1 and 3-4 in the postseason as the Panthers starting quarterback. He lost his last eight starts for the Panthers.