Carolina Panthers release QB Cam Newton to complete overhaul

Cam Newton's reign in Carolina has reached its end.

The Panthers released the former MVP on Tuesday, sealing an unceremonious finish to the quarterback's nearly decade-long run with the team.

"Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas," general manager Marty Hurney said in a 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."

Carolina signaled its intention to move on from Newton last Tuesday, when Hurney new coach Matt Rhule said they would allow him to pursue a trade. Newton, however, pushed back on the organization's framing of the matter, saying the team "forced" him into the current situation.

“Stop with the word play!!” Newton wrote in a comment on Instagram in response to the Panthers’ post. “I never asked for it!! There is no dodging this one. I love the Panthers to death and will always love you guys!! Please do not try and play me, or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this; you forced me into this!!”

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Newton, who will turn 31 in May, played in just two games last season while dealing with a Lisfranc injury. His 2018 campaign was derailed by a shoulder injury.

The No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, however, is perhaps the most decorated player in franchise history. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and earned MVP honors in 2015, when he led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos.

Newton is the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards (29,041), passing touchdowns (182) and rushing touchdowns (58).

Under Rhule, the Panthers have undergone a significant shift at quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater was signed to be the presumptive starter, and former XFL standout P.J. Walker agreed to a deal on Monday to compete with Will Grier for a backup role. Kyle Allen, who took over for Newton last season, was traded to the Washington Redskins.

Newton could have a difficult time finding a natural landing spot, with many teams already having solidified their quarterback outlook for the coming years. According to ESPN, the Panthers engaged the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Chargers on trade talks, but neither team was interested. His injury history also could be an impediment, as the league has instituted a travel ban for free agents and team personnel seeking to conduct physicals.

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.