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NFL roundup: Panthers permit Newton to seek trade

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws against the Indianapolis Colts during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Derick E. Hingle / USA TODAY Sports1 / 2
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Damiere Byrd (18) celebrates with quarterback Cam Newton (1) after scoring a touchdown Dec. 18, 2017 at Bank of America Stadium. Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports 2 / 2

The Carolina Panthers gave Cam Newton permission to seek a trade on Tuesday, although the quarterback didn't seem too happy about it.

The Panthers' decision comes one month removed from new head coach Matt Rhule telling reporters that the club wanted to keep their quarterback of nine years.

Newton, however, is owed $21.1 million in 2020, including a base salary of $18.6 million. He signed a five-year, $103.8 million contract extension in 2015 that took effect with the 2016 season, and the team could free up $19 million in cap space by releasing or trading him.

"One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft," general manager Marty Hurney said of Newton, who is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2015 NFL MVP.

"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."

"Cam is one of the all-time greats in Panthers history," owner David Tepper said in a statement. "If you ask any of our fans of their most memorable moments, I'm willing to be that most of them would include Cam -- electrifying plays, giving away footballs after touchdowns, fun celebrations and big wins. His competitiveness and drive are rare. Off the field, you can't measure Cam's contributions. He has touched the lives of youth throughout the Carolinas and in Atlanta. He's unique and I wish him all the best."

Newton, however, took to social media to tell his version of the story.

"STOP WITH THE WORD PLAY!! i never asked for it!!" Newton wrote on Instagram. "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!!"

Per ESPN's Dianna Russini, the Panthers have shown interest in signing free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The 27-year-old Bridgewater, who spent the 2019 season with the New Orleans Saints, completed 133 of 196 passes for 1,384 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions in nine games (five starts).

Newton, 30, had shoulder surgery prior to the 2019 season and spent the offseason overhauling his nutrition and lifestyle choices. But he suffered a foot injury in the third preseason game in August at New England. After attempting to play through the injury, Newton was shut down for the season in September.

Newton had surgery in December for a Lisfranc injury in his left foot.

Overall, Newton has thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions in 125 games (124 starts). He also has rushed for 4,806 yards and 58 scores.

Reports: Brees agrees to two-year, $50M contract

New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees has agreed to a two-year contract worth approximately $50 million, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday.

The $25 million per season average is the same value as the previous deal he signed with New Orleans in 2018.

Brees, who announced earlier this month that he planned to return to the Saints, is the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old Brees started 11 games and completed 74.3 percent of his passes for 2,979 yards, 27 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019. He missed five games with a thumb injury.

In other moves:

  • Veteran tight end Jason Witten agreed to a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, according to multiple reports on Tuesday. ESPN reported Witten could earn up to $4.75 million. Witten, 37, retired after the 2017 season and was an analyst for Monday Night Football on ESPN in 2018. He unretired to play for the Cowboys last season.

  • The Indianapolis Colts and free agent quarterback Philip Rivers agreed to a one-year, $25 million contract multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

  • The Miami Dolphins have agreed to a two-year deal with running back Jordan Howard, ESPN reported Tuesday. The package is worth more than $10 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

  • The Dallas Cowboys retained both of their key offensive free agents on Monday, reportedly agreeing to a deal with wide receiver Amari Cooper after placing the exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott. Multiple media outlets reported that Cooper landed a five-year, $100 million deal. He is guaranteed at least $60 million, according to ESPN.com and NFL.com.

  • Career backup quarterback Chase Daniel will sign a three-year, $13.05 million contract with the Detroit Lions, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.
  • The Las Vegas Raiders and linebacker Cory Littleton agreed to terms on a three-year contract, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.
  • Defensive end Robert Quinn agreed to join the Chicago Bears on a $70 million deal that gives pass-rushing force Khalil Mack a sidekick.
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