Yes, Cam Newton isn’t on the Carolina Panthers anymore, and hasn’t been for over a year now. But he also isn’t on the New England Patriots anymore, which is a relative shocker for arguably the greatest player in the former (former) franchise’s history.
The move came on Tuesday morning ahead of the league’s 4 p.m. ET deadline to reach the 53-man roster limit. Newton, who was seen as the favorite to beat out 2021 15th overall pick Mac Jones as New England’s starting quarterback, is now a free agent and is open to sign with any team following his release.
(“Any team” technically does mean, yes, your Carolina Panthers. But, it probably doesn’t.)
Following a Heisman Trophy-winning, national title-capturing year at Auburn University, Newton was selected with the first overall pick of the 2011 draft by Carolina. He’d make his impact felt immediately, carrying a largely shallow roster to six wins (triple that of the campaign previous) en route to being named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Shouldering an underwhelming supporting cast would continue to be the name of the game for Cam, as he went on to lead the Panthers to three straight division championships from 2013 to 2015, making it the first three-peat for any team in the current configuration of the NFC South. His near-unanimous MVP season of 2015 propelled the organization to its second Super Bowl appearance, one they’d surprisingly lose to the Denver Broncos following a dominant 17-1 record in the 18 games leading up to it.
Newton, who sustained numerous shoulder injuries in the years after, would then be released by the Panthers in March of 2020. He ended his nine-year tenure as the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards (29,041), passing touchdowns (182) and rushing touchdowns (58).
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