The Carolina Panthers released Cam Newton on Tuesday, ending his nine-year tenure with the franchise. On the same day they dumped Newton, the Panthers signed Robby Anderson, giving new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a better receiving corps than Newton ever had in Carolina.
Bridgewater signed a three-year. $63 million deal (with $40 million guaranteed) and Panthers general manager Marty Hurney has already improved his supporting cast. Carolina has returning receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, and now added a big-play threat in Anderson. Oh, and they've got that Christian McCaffrey guy in the backfield.
During his time in Carolina, Newton's top receiver was actually tight end Greg Olsen. He got three seasons of Steve Smith towards the end of his career, but other than that he was relying on guys like Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon LaFell, and Devin Funchess for much of his tenure.
The Panthers have fully embraced a new direction in rebuilding with new head coach Matt Rhule in place. They went out and got rising star Joe Brady to run the offense, signed Bridgewater, got rid of both of last year's quarterbacks (by releasing Newton and trading Kyle Allen to Washington) and added a big-play receiver to help stretch the field.
Bridgewater will have every chance to succeed, as long as the Panthers' below average offensive line can improve. Newly-acquired left tackle Russell Okung should help, but there's a Trai Turner-sized hole at one of the guard spots. Still, the team's new quarterback is in a great spot.
For years, the Panthers failed to provide protection or top-level playmakers for Newton. Apparently they've learned from that experience, because they are loading up for Bridgewater.