Cam Newton is about to be a free agent. The long-time starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers could be cut loose as soon as Tuesday afternoon, according to a tweet by NFL beat reporter Tom Pelissero.
The Panthers had been looking for a trade partner, but — as is often the case — couldn’t find one. There isn’t a great deal of incentive to give up a draft pick for a player teams can just turn around and sign to a new contract once they become a free agent.
Carolina did itself no favors when it announced it was looking for a trade, signaling to the rest of the NFL that it wanted to dump its one-time star player. The team then almost immediately signed Teddy Bridgewater to be its starting quarterback for the 2020 season, a move that further backed the Panthers into a corner.
His injured foot didn’t help things. With the inability to quickly and easily give him a physical, Peliserro thinks teams were a little more cautious about signing him.
The situation became muddier when Newton came out and said he never asked for a trade, which the team claimed he did as a way to couch their announcement as a sign of respect for the player.
Not only did Pelissero break the news about Newton preparing to be released, he added the Panthers were willing to let him try and find a deal on his own. As the reporter pointed out, quarterback jobs filled up quick this offseason. The ones that are still open appear to not be interested in Newton.
There are still at least two NFL starting quarterback jobs officially open. The Los Angeles Chargers are looking for a new QB after letting Phillip Rivers walk this winter. The New England Patriots are also officially looking for a starter to replace Tom Brady.
Newton was mentioned in trade talks with the Chargers earlier this month. It’s possible they could have been waiting it out until they were able to negotiate dollar amounts instead of draft picks.
While it is possible Newton can land in Los Angeles, most analysts seem confident in saying that the Patriots will not be going after the soon-to-be former Panther. New England’s offense isn’t said to match his style.
To continue playing in the NFL, it’s possible Newton may have to take a route similar to Jameis Winston’s, taking a backup role for now, then compete for the starting job in the fall.