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Carolina officially cuts ties with its quarterback

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Cam Newton era is over in Carolina, as the Panthers released the 31-year-old quarterback 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.

Panthers owner David Tepper released a statement at the time regarding Newton that read, “I wish him all the best.”

On Monday night, Newton posted on his Instagram account that he was “hungrier” now because he is “unemployed.”

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.”

Given the inevitable outcome, it was not surprising that no teams were willing to trade for Newton.

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!”

Newton joined the Panthers in 2011 as the top pick in the draft after winning a national championship and the Heisman Trophy at Auburn.

Elsewhere:

n A person familiar with the situation says free agent wide receiver Robby Anderson has agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $20 million with the Carolina Panthers. ESPN was first to report the news. 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 has 207 catches for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in his four NFL seasons.

n The New York Jets quickly responded to losing Robby Anderson by finding a speedy replacement in Breshad Perriman. Perriman agreed to terms Tuesday on a one-year deal worth up to $8 million and includes $6 million guaranteed, agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press. The 26-year-old wide receiver had his best season in the NFL last year, setting career highs with 36 catches, 645 yards receiving and six touchdowns for Tampa Bay.

n The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to a one-year contract with Jordan Ta’amu, the highest-rated quarterback during the abbreviated XFL season. He will compete with veteran Chad Henne for a backup job next season. The 22-year-old Ta’amu was undrafted out of Mississippi last year and spent time in training camp with the Texans. He was released in August and signed with the St. Louis Battlehawks, where he led the XFL with an 82.8 passer rating and 72.4% completion percentage and was third with 1,050 yards passing in five games.

n The Seattle Seahawks made a significant addition to their wide receiver group by agreeing to a one-year contract Tuesday with Phillip Dorsett, according to two people with knowledge of the deal. Dorsett, 27, was a first-round pick of Indianapolis in 2015. But he lasted just two seasons with the Colts before being traded to New England as part of the deal that sent quarterback Jacoby Brissett to Indianapolis. He spent the past three seasons in New England, where his playing time and production increased each season. Dorsett had 32 catches and three touchdowns in 2018. Last season, Dorsett caught 29 passes, but averaged 13.7 yards per catch and scored five touchdowns.

n The New Orleans Saints have agreed to free-agent contracts with defensive end Noah Spence and XFL interception leader Deatrick Nichols. The 6-foot-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. 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.

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