Mike Tolbert, Marty Hurney Address Panthers' Handling of Cam Newton
There has been an array of mixed responses surrounding the Panthers’ handling of Cam Newton since his release on March 24th. The team attempted to trade Newton, and after failing to find a trade partner the team released him. Many came to the conclusion that Carolina waited too long to release Newton, compromising his chances to sign with another team as starting quarterback roles were filled rapidly in March.
Former Panther Mike Tolbert spoke to The Athletic’s Joe Person last week that the team has mishandled Cam Newton for the past several seasons.
“They’ve been doing him [Newton} wrong timing-wise for the past two or three years, if you ask me,” Tolbert told The Athletic. “It goes back to his shoulder surgery. Everyone knew his shoulder was messed up in the middle of the year two years ago. But they wait until offseason gets ready to start to have shoulder surgery. It makes no sense. Timing’s off. As soon as he got hurt last preseason against the Patriots, they were saying, ‘Oh, he’s got a high-ankle sprain.’ I looked at it on film carefully. It’s not a high-ankle sprain. You could tell that 10 minutes after the play. You knew it’s a mid-foot sprain, Lisfranc, something like that. But you wait until December for him to beg you to have surgery. He shouldn’t have been out there Week One and Two. He shouldn’t have been out there probably until Week Four or Five, at minimum.”
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney appeared on WFNZ Sports Radio in Charlotte last week and was asked about Tolbert’s comments and how the team managed Newton over the past few seasons.
“I understand,” Hurney said on WFNZ. “Everyone is going to have their opinions, and they’re certainly entitled to them. I have great respect for our medical staff and I have great respect for Cam Newton.”
Back in April, Marty Hurney spoke to Panthers media for the first time since Newton was released and said the team was upfront about his departure.
“As soon as we did [decide to trade him], I called Cam’s representatives and told them we were going to start calling teams to see if there was trade interest in Cam,” Hurney told the media in April. “Once we put the time in and saw teams were not interested and got to the point where it didn’t seem like we were going to make a trade - and we thought it was in the best interest of everybody - we decided to release him. Once we did make that decision - there was a lot of thought and communication that went into it - we let Cam know immediately.”
You cannot rule out the possibility that Newton could potentially have a job if he were released earlier but one thing that Hurney has echoed since Newton’s release is that the team was unable to find a trading partner - which is most likely due to health concerns. Something to consider is that Newton is still a free agent today so there are certainly some red flags from teams around the league and why they are so hesitant to sign him. Cam would likely want a starting job but that ship has most likely sailed. At best, he will enter training camp as a backup and can either work his way up and earn the starting job or a starter from another team gets hurt and a team trades for the former MVP.
If Newton can get back to being 100 percent healthy and close to the Cam Newton he was at the start of the 2018 season then he will most certainly be in high demand and a starting-caliber quarterback for an NFL team at some point in 2020.
Do you believe the Panthers could have handled the Cam Newton departure better? What’re your thoughts on Tolbert and Hurney’s comments? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and discuss it with fellow Panther fans!
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