The NFL’s new year began on Monday and there was a flurry of activity. The Cowboys bookended the action with two big moves, putting the exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott in the morning and inking Amari Cooper to a $100 million deal late at night.
In between Dallas’ decisions, DeAndre Hopkins was traded to Arizona, DeForest Buckner was dealt to the Colts, and Stefon Diggs tweeted his way out of Minnesota and into Buffalo. Plenty of others signed, re-signed, or got dealt, but the biggest domino on the board remained an uncertainty, that is until Tuesday morning when Tom Brady announced he would be moving on from New England after 20 seasons with the Patriots.
That set in motion a wild morning of activity for the quarterback market, as Drew Brees agreed to a two-year, $50 million deal to stay in New Orleans, and elsewhere in the NFC South the Carolina Panthers announced they were working with Cam Newton to find him a new home via a trade.
“One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft,” GM Marty Hurney said. “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 missed most of last year after suffering a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot that required surgery, but wants to continue playing and starting, while the Panthers seem ready to move on to a new era with Matt Rhule now at head coach. Reports indicate Teddy Bridgewater may be the frontrunner to take over for Newton.
The Carolina Panthers are showing very strong interest in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater per sources. I’m told the conversations have been going very well. #panthers
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) March 17, 2020
Bridgewater excelled in Drew Brees’ absence in New Orleans, but with Brees back and Taysom Hill also getting tendered in New Orleans, it’s been very apparent Teddy’s time in the Big Easy was coming to a close as he seeks a starting job. As for where Newton lands, the Patriots were an immediate destination many thought of with Brady now departing, but whichever of the Bucs and Chargers (the two presumptive Brady landing spots) misses out on the Hall of Famer also will have reason to take an interest in Cam’s services as well. As Judy Batista of NFL.com notes, it might take some time for a Newton trade to get officially done, as medicals will be crucial and right now players are not traveling for meetings or medicals due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
We said this before on @nflnetwork about trying to trade Todd Gurley, and now applies to Cam, too: medical will be huge for a team considering them. How do you do that under current circumstances? Very complicated.
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) March 17, 2020
Newton would address the situation in the Instagram comments on the Panthers post, insisting he didn’t want a trade and that their wording of this made it seem that way when in actuality they were forcing him to find a trade.