Panthers allowing Cam Newton to seek a trade

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Another big-name quarterback is available.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Carolina Panthers granted Cam Newton permission to seek a trade, per sources. The decision came after discussions between the organization and the QB's agents.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney later announced the decision, which signaled the end of the quarterback's nine-year run with Carolina.

"One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft," Hurney said in a statement. "Every year difficult decisions are made and they are never easy. We have been working with Cam and his agent to find the best fit for him moving forward and he will always be a Carolina Panther in our hearts."

Newton later responded on Instagram that he didn't request a trade.

"Cam is one one of the all-time greats in Panthers history," Panthers owner David Tepper said in a statement. "If you ask any of our fans for some of their most memorable moments, I'm willing to bet that most of them would include Cam -- electrifying plays, giving away footballs after touchdowns, fun celebrations and big wins. His competitiveness and drive are rare. Off the field, you can't measure Cam's contributions. He has touched the lives of youth throughout the Carolinas and in Atlanta. He's unique and I wish him all the best."

It didn't take long for the Panthers to find their replacement for Newton. Rapoport reported later Tuesday that Teddy Bridgewater -- fresh off a two-year run with the Saints -- has agreed to a contract to become Carolina's new starting quarterback.

The stunning decision comes after new coach Matt Rhule emphatically insisted during the NFL Scouting Combine that he "absolutely" wanted Newton to remain in Carolina.

Things move fast in the NFL nowadays, however.

After being selected No. 1 overall, Newton quickly became the face of the Panthers' franchise, winning the 2015 NFL MVP award, helping guide Carolina to a Super Bowl, and earning three Pro Bowl bids.

The hulking quarterback, who was once the most fearsome goal-line weapon in the NFL, however, hasn't been the same since injuries began to derail his career the past three seasons. Newton has undergone multiple shoulder surgeries and missed all but two games in 2019 due to a foot injury that ultimately required surgery.

With one year remaining on his contract, Newton's injury history is a major wild card in finding a trade partner, especially given the current restrictions the NFL has placed on medical tests.

If he were healthy, Newton would immediately leap to the top of the list of available signal-callers for teams like New England, Chicago, and numerous others. The health factor, however, could shade the trade options.

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