P.J. Walker’s XFL stint was successful enough that he’s landed an NFL job as a result.
As first reported by ESPN’s Dianna Russini, Walker has agreed to sign with the Carolina Panthers. The move will reunite him with coach Matt Rhule, who coached Walker at Temple.
Carolina’s Matt Rhule coached Walker at Temple. This past XFL season Walker shared with us that Rhule stayed in contact with him weekly and watched his games. #Panthers
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) March 23, 2020
Walker was one of the XFL’s standout players while playing quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks. He was so successful he attracted widespread NFL interest and has managed to play his way back into the NFL. It’s nice that, at least for one player, the XFL turned out to be a solid, worthwhile gamble.
The Carolina Panthers are making significant changes this offseason under new head coach Matt Rhule, and parting ways with veteran safety Eric Reid is the latest.
The Panthers have informed Reid that they will release him, according to multiple reports. Reid confirmed the news on Twitter.
It’s been a pleasure Carolina! I enjoyed my time and the support I received from the fans, media, teammates, and staff there will be remembered. Looking forward to furthering my career in another city!
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) March 18, 2020
Reid started 29 games for the Panthers in two seasons and ended up being a nice addition to their defense. He had 130 tackles, four sacks and seven tackles for loss last season, all of which were career highs. One of the teams that could look to sign him is the Washington Redskins, as Reid likely has a good relationship with Ron Rivera.
Rivera brought Reid to Carolina after it seemed like many teams were avoiding the defensive back over his support for Colin Kaepernick. Reid has continued to stand behind Kaepernick, and the reality is that could deter some teams from signing the 28-year-old.
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The Carolina Panthers made it clear this week that they are moving on from Cam Newton when they signed Teddy Bridgewater, but the Chicago Bears could be among the teams that do not want to wait until the Panthers release Newton to make a run at the quarterback.
The Bears have had recent discussions with Carolina about a potential Newton trade, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reports. Although it is a virtual certainty Newton will be released if he’s not traded, Chicago may not want to risk having to compete with other teams to sign the former NFL MVP.
The Panthers have been in recent contact with the Bears regarding Cam Newton, per source. The expectation is Newton will be released in the coming days, but CHI may not want to compete in the market for him
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) March 18, 2020
The Bears publicly committed to Mitchell Trubisky as their starting quarterback for 2020 at the end of last season, but it is clear they are exploring other options. They reportedly had talks with Bridgewater before he signed with Carolina, and they are said to be targeting other players who could potentially compete with Trubisky for a starting job.
Newton will earn around $19 million in the final year of his contract next season. With the Panthers having clearly moved on from him, they will probably take a mid- or late-round pick for him rather than releasing him. We know of at least one other team that has reached out to Carolina about a potential trade, so a market has definitely developed.
The Carolina Panthers are turning things over from Cam Newton to Teddy Bridgewater.
Not long after the Panthers announced that they have given Newton permission to seek a trade, reports surfaced that Carolina had a deal with Bridgewater. The deal is believed to be worth $63 million over three years.
That isn’t quite as much money as some thought Bridgewater would get, but it sounds like good pay for a player who has played sparingly over the past three seasons.
Bridgewater boosted his stock by playing well in place of an injured Drew Brees last season. The New Orleans Saints won all five of their games that Bridgewater started while Brees was out with a thumb injury, and Bridgewater helped keep them in the playoff hunt.
We know of at least one other team that was interested in signing Bridgewater, but ultimately he chose the Panthers and new offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Brady was the passing game coordinator with LSU last season, and he spent time with the Saints before that. The familiarity between Bridgewater and Brady likely gave the Panthers a big advantage over other teams.
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Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are headed for a divorce, and it does not sound like it will be an amicable one.
The Panthers announced on Tuesday that they have given Newton permission to seek a trade. Not long after, Newton took to Instagram to rip the team for making it seem like he is the one who wants to part ways and not the other way around. In an Instagram comment on the post the Panthers created saying they have “given Cam Newton permission to seek a trade,” Newton told the team not to “manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this.”
“Stop with the word play. I never asked for it,” Newton wrote in his typical unique font pattern. “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.”
Former Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who recently signed with the Seattle Seahawks, also chimed in with a comment and hinted that the same happened to him in Carolina.
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) March 17, 2020
Newton may have asked for the trade, but he likely would have preferred to remain with the Panthers if he were still in their plans. The former NFL MVP had a close relationship with Ron Rivera, and it sounds like new head coach Matt Rhule already has a replacement for Newton in mind.
There are almost always hard feelings when a franchise parts ways with a star quarterback, and we have already seen the Patriots try to point the finger at Tom Brady now that he is leaving New England. Newton isn’t about to let the Panthers do the same with him.
The Carolina Panthers are planning to part ways with Cam Newton, and they appear to already have a replacement in mind.
In a somewhat bizarre move, the Panthers announced on Tuesday that they have given Newton and his representatives permission to seek a trade.
“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,” general manager Marty Hurney said.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Panthers are already in the process of trying to bring in Newton’s replacement. Carolina has reportedly been having discussions with free agent Teddy Bridgewater that are “going very well.”
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
New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said previously that he is “unbelievably excited” to work with Newton, but the franchise is clearly going in a different direction. That said, Newton is still recovering from a foot injury that cost him the majority of the 2019 season, so he will need to pass physicals and prove to teams he is healthy before any trade can be completed.
We can think of one option that might make sense for Newton if the Panthers are able to trade him, but multiple teams should be interested. Newton is a former NFL MVP and No. 1 overall draft pick who is still just 30. If he’s healthy, he could be a huge difference maker for a franchise.
The Carolina Panthers will eventually have to decide whether or not they want Cam Newton to remain their starting quarterback in 2020, and their interest in one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft may be a hint about how they plan to move forward.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney attended Oregon’s Pro Day on Thursday, and Andrew Groover of NFL Network noted that Hurney was the only NFL GM present. Hurney was seen speaking with Justin Herbert after the star quarterback finished throwing passes.
Panthers GM Marty Hurney only GM I’ve seen at Oregon’s pro day. No head coaches. Very small crowd.
— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) March 12, 2020
Panthers GM Marty Hurney was waiting for Justin Herbert after he finished throwing to tell him good job 👀 pic.twitter.com/pvdamQq8s8
— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) March 13, 2020
On a day where NFL teams were encouraging scouts and staff members to avoid travel due to the coronavirus outbreak, it is certainly significant that Hurney went through with attending Oregon’s Pro Day. Perhaps he simply did not want to alter his travel plans, but there’s also a chance he was determined to watch Herbert throw. Hurney also could have been scouting other Ducks players.
The Panthers currently have the No. 7 overall pick in the draft, and many believe new head coach Matt Rhule will want to start fresh at quarterback by drafting and developing a player. Carolina should be in a position to draft Herbert if they want him.
Newton’s future depends upon when — and if — he is fully recovered from the foot injury that cost him the majority of the 2019 season. We’ve already heard him linked to more than one team if the Panthers decide to trade him, but there’s no guarantee they will go that route. Rhule has said he is excited to work with Newton. Maybe he’s telling the truth.