After nine years as the franchise quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton has been released by the team that took him No. 1 overall in 2011. But while the move may not have been much of a surprise, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was not amused by how things played out.
On Wednesday’s edition of ESPN’s Get Up!, Stephen A. took the Panthers to task over how they treated Newton. He went so far as to say the Panthers “screwed over” Newton with the timing in which they released him. Stephen A. explained that Carolina should have released him weeks ago, before the start of free agency, and allow him to find a new home before teams started giving out big deals to the top players on the market.
Stephen A. Smith further explained that Panthers owner David Tepper knew from the outset that he was planning to go in a different direction. He criticized the Panthers for waiting until after they signed Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker, hoping to get a trade partner for Newton in the interim.
Get Up! host Mike Greenberg was inclined to agree with Stephen A., pointing out that perhaps the Panthers owed it to Newton given all he achieved for them.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 25, 2020
In his nine seasons with the Panthers, Newton made three Pro Bowls and was the NFL MVP in 2015. He led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in a losing effort against the Denver Broncos.
But injuries have taken their toll on Newton in the past few years. He missed a career-high 14 games in 2019 – a season that also saw longtime head coach Ron Rivera fired.
Newton leaves the Panthers as their all-time leading in passing and rushing touchdowns.