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Panthers GM: Cam Newton proved he is a franchise quarterback

Cam Newton said it shouldn't be a big deal about the number of black QBs in the league.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Cam Newton set career highs in 2013 with 24 TD passes and an 88.8 passer rating. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said Tuesday that former No. 1 pick Cam Newton has proved that he is a franchise quarterback.

Newton led the team to their first playoff berth in five seasons this season but the team was ousted in the Divisional Round by the San Francisco 49ers.

"He proved it to me," Gettleman said, via"He proved it this year. He flat proved it."

Even though Gettleman gave Newton a vote of confidence, he refused to say if the team would offer Newton a long-term deal or pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.

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The team has until May 3 to exercise that option in Newton's contract, which was a four-year deal worth $22 million he signed in 2011.

"I don't talk contracts," Gettleman said. "I can't work in a vacuum where you work year to year. We are cap challenged, and that's not going away anytime soon. In the next month, we are going to thoughtfully look at next year and a three-year projection and five-year projection."

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