Cam Newton release
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers announced on Tuesday they are granting star quarterback Cam Newton and his agent permission to seek a trade out of Carolina.

Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, has been a star at quarterback for the Panthers since his sensational rookie debut. As the franchise now prepares for a transition under head coach Matt Rhule, the front office is ready to move on from its franchise quarterback.

“One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft,” general manager Marty Hurney said, via press release. “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.”

The Panthers were expected to move forward with Newton earlier this offseason and the former NFL MVP looked impressive throwing on the practice field. However, many around the NFL believe the Panthers are starting a rebuild with the intention of landing a franchise quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Newton missed 14 games this past season with a Lisfranc injury. The 30-year-old’s health and durability were of concern for the Panthers and will likely impact his trade value when the Panthers start engaging in discussions with other teams.

If Newton can return healthy, though, he could potentially return to Pro Bowl form. He posted a 94.2 quarterback rating with a 24-13 TD-INT ratio during the 2018 season and he remains a threat to run the football at any moment.

Now that Newton can seek a trade, he should draw interest from teams like the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago Bears.