Think Cam Newton will be playing with a chip on his shoulder in 2020? That’s an understatement. Judging by his latest Instagram post—a gym video inexplicably set to a gospel soundtrack—Cam’s going to be lugging around a boulder this year. The former MVP spent less than a week on the trade block before the Panthers cut him loose and it doesn’t sound like the 30-year-old Auburn alum will forget that slight any time soon.
“All I know is work,” said Newton between workout reps in what appears to be his home gym. “They gave up on me.” You can understand where Cam’s coming from, though moving on from their long-time signal-caller wasn’t a decision the Panthers arrived at overnight. Newton has battled years of injuries—a Lisfranc sprain limited him to just two appearances this past season—and with a new coaching regime in place, the rebuilding Panthers decided now was the right time to move in another direction. With no one taking the bait in trade talks and only a $2 million dead cap hit to worry about, Carolina expedited Cam’s departure with Tuesday’s release.
While some could view Carolina’s use of the Band-Aid technique (just rip it off) as a sort of peace offering to Cam, allowing him his choice of teams rather than banishing him to a small-market also-ran like the Jags or Bengals, clearly Newton didn’t take it that way. The nine-year vet has been adamant he never wanted to leave, saying as much in an Instagram remark made last week. “I never asked for it,” Newton said in response to the Panthers giving him “permission” to seek out a trade. “You forced me into this.”
Scorned by the team that drafted him first overall in 2011, there’s no telling where Cam’s NFL journey will take him next. The three-time Pro Bowler would be a logical fit for either the Chargers or Patriots (so would fellow free agent Jameis Winston), though neither team has stepped up to the plate as of yet. Maybe the Panthers are correct in their assessment Cam’s best years are behind him, but replacing him with the unaccomplished likes of Teddy Bridgewater (best known for suffering a catastrophic knee injury in practice and holding the clipboard for Drew Brees in New Orleans) seems like a low blow. It’s equally mystifying the Panthers couldn’t secure at least a late-round draft pick for Newton after flipping a fifth-rounder for Kyle Allen (who was intercepted an embarrassing 16 times over his final nine games in 2019) earlier this week.
Not much is certain as the feisty signal-caller begins the next chapter of his career, but one thing’s for sure. Whichever team inevitably takes the plunge on Newton will be getting a man hell-bent on revenge. In the past, we’ve seen players like Tom Brady and Doug Baldwin use snubs as motivation. Now it’s time for Cam to tap into his own well of anger.