CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Cam Newton era is over in Carolina, as the Panthers released the 30-year-old quarterback on Tuesday after nine seasons.
The move became a mere formality after the Panthers made it clear last week they were moving on from Newton by giving him permission to seek a trade and then agreeing to a three-year, $63 million contract with free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater about 90 minutes later.
On Monday night, Newton posted on his Instagram account that he was "hungrier" now because he is "unemployed."
"Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
The breakup did not end well.
After the Panthers announced Newton was free to seek a trade, the QB took to Twitter, posting a message directed at the front office that read, "Stop the word play!! 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."
Newton now becomes a free agent and can sign with another NFL team immediately.
The move frees up $19.1 million in salary cap space for the Panthers. They'll have to absorb $2 million in dead cap money.
Panthers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey thanked Newton on Instagram Tuesday, posting, "You changed the way I approach the game and put the fun back in it for me. I'll always owe you for that. I speak for the Carolinas when I say thank you for all memories and smiles you brought us. Love!"
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Newton joined the Panthers in 2011 as the top pick in the draft after winning a national championship and the Heisman Trophy at Auburn. He stepped in right away as the team's starting quarterback and threw for 400 yards in each of his first two starts.
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.
His best season came in 2015 when he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record in the regular season and an NFC championship when he threw for 3,837 yards and combined for 35 touchdowns en route to earning league MVP honors.
Panthers sign WR Anderson
Free agent wide receiver Robby Anderson has agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $20 million with the Carolina Panthers.
The team hasn't announced the move since he hasn't taken a physical.
The 26-year-old Anderson becomes the fourth former Temple player to rejoin coach Matt Rhule in Carolina. Rhule was the Owls head coach from 2013-16.
Anderson joins a young Panthers wide receiving group that includes returning starters D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, adding more speed to an already fast group that will be quarterbacked by Teddy Bridgewater.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Anderson finished with 52 catches for 779 yards and five touchdowns last season. He has 207 catches for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in his four NFL seasons.
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