The Carolina Panthers released quarterback Cam Newton, making the former league MVP a free agent, after their attempts to trade him failed.
The move was announced by the team Tuesday afternoon after being widely reported earlier in the day. The Panthers had already replaced Newton by striking a deal last week with free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who had success last season in New Orleans as the Saints’ fill-in starter while Drew Brees was injured.
“Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a written 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.”
The Panthers had granted Newton and his representatives permission to seek a trade, but nothing materialized. The Bears appeared interested but traded last week for Nick Foles instead. There was speculation that the Chargers were interested and that they could remain a potential landing spot now that he’s a free agent. But they could stand pat and go with Tyrod Taylor as their starter instead.
There had been speculation about Newton reuniting in Washington with Ron Rivera, the newly hired coach of the Redskins who previously coached Newton in Carolina. But the Redskins traded for Kyle Allen, who took over as the Panthers’ starter last season while Newton was sidelined by a foot injury, to team with Dwayne Haskins.
Newton's situation is complicated by the coronavirus-related travel restrictions placed on players and teams by the NFL. Players are not permitted to travel to meet with teams or undergo physicals. Teams are not permitted to travel to meet with players.
Newton underwent a physical Monday in Atlanta, according to a report by ESPN.
Even so, interested teams might be wary of moving forward with Newton without their own medical staffs involved. Newton underwent two shoulder surgeries in recent years and missed almost all of last season because of the foot injury.
He was the top overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Panthers and was the league’s MVP when he led Carolina to a 15-1 regular-season record and a Super Bowl appearance in the 2015 season. Newton, who turns 31 in May, threw for 29,041 yards and 182 touchdowns with 108 interceptions in nine seasons with the Panthers.
Anderson to Carolina
A person familiar with the situation said free agent wide receiver Robby Anderson has agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $20 million with the Panthers.
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.
The Jets quickly responded to losing Anderson by finding a speedy replacement in Breshad Perriman.
Perriman agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $8 million and includes $6 million guaranteed, agent Drew Rosenhaus said.
The 26-year-old Perriman had his best season in the NFL last year, setting career highs with 36 catches, 645 yards receiving, and six touchdowns for Tampa Bay.
Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016, Anderson made the Jets out of training camp. He established himself as a productive and promising — although inconsistent — receiver during his first four seasons.
He was among the top players available at the wide receiver spot in free agency this offseason, and both Anderson and the Jets had talked about staying together — at the right price for both sides.
But he ended up going to Carolina.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 190-pound Anderson has never had a 1,000-yard season or more than 63 receptions, but he showed marked improvement late last year particularly with contested balls — something that had been a knock on the rail-thin receiver who sometimes struggled against bigger and more physical defensive backs. He finished with 52 catches for 779 yards, both second-best totals for his career, and five touchdowns last season.
Anderson has 207 catches for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in his four NFL seasons.
Jaguars sign Eifert
Oft-injured tight end Tyler Eifert and the Jaguars agreed to a two-year free agent contract.
Eifert played in 16 games last year for the first time in his seven NFL seasons, all with Cincinnati. He caught 43 passes for 436 yards and three touchdowns.
He has 185 receptions for 2,152 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best year came in 2015, when he had 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 scores. But he’s missed more games (34) than he’s played (30) since.
He’s one of the NFL’s elite tight ends when healthy. Before 2019, though, he was limited to 28 games over five seasons. He missed time with a stinger, a dislocated elbow, ankle injuries, and twice needed back surgery. He also had a cyst removed him a knee.
Williams wants out
The agent for Redskins left tackle Trent Williams escalated his client’s demands to be traded or released, in a statement sent to reporters. “Despite its irreconcilable differences, Washington was unable [or unwilling] to negotiate a trade of Williams,” agent Vince Taylor said. “The team then gave Williams and his representatives the right to seek trading partners. Williams’s representatives provided the team with trading options, but the Redskins have shown no interest in negotiating in good faith, and, in fact, have given inconsistent demands on what it wants in return for a trade.” Williams requested to be traded last summer, and he later said it was because his relationship with then-team president Bruce Allen fractured and because he lost faith in the Redskins during what he called a botched medical diagnosis of a cancerous tumor on his head. Williams held out most of last season, returned after the team failed to trade him at the trade deadline, and then, after experiencing discomfort putting on his helmet during a medical exam, was placed on the non-football injury list. The team granted Williams permission to seek his own trading partner earlier this month … The Packers are keeping tight end Marcedes Lewis as he gets ready for his 15th NFL season. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst announced Tuesday that they’ve signed Lewis, who is back for a third year in Green Bay. The 35-year-old Lewis caught 15 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown last season. He started each of the Packers’ two playoff games … The 49ers agreed to a one-year deal with free agent receiver Travis Benjamin. The 30-year-old Benjamin provides depth at receiver after Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency. Benjamin played only five games last year for the Chargers because of a quadriceps injury. His best year came in 2015 for the Browns, when he had 68 catches for 966 yards and five TDs … The Chargers agreed to a one-year contract with free agent linebacker Nick Vigil. Vigil has spent the past four seasons with the Bengals, who drafted him in the third round in 2016, and where he made 37 career starts. He started every game last year and was second on the team in tackles with 111 … Saints GM Mickey Loomis said the club has agreed to free agent contracts with defensive end Noah Spence and XFL interceptions leader Deatrick Nichols. The 6-2, 251-pound Spence returns to the Saints after first joining New Orleans for the final three-regular season games of 2019 and one playoff game. The four-year veteran out of Eastern Kentucky began his NFL career when Tampa Bay selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft. His rookie season, when he had 5½ sacks, remains his best. Nichols spent part of 2020 playing cornerback for the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks and intercepted three passes before the season was shortened after just five games.