Like the old saying goes, when one era ends, another one begins. And today that couldn’t be more true as the Panthers welcomed its franchise quarterback Cam Newton to the team, as Newton reached an agreement with the Panthers tonight, signing a four year deal worth $22 million dollars, all of which is guaranteed.
This is huge getting Newton signed. It looks like all signs point to the fact that the Panthers are hoping Newton can start from day one. We have seen what Clausen can do and baring a miracle, I would say it’s Newton’s job to lose. So it was so important that Newton did not miss any training camp time, especially since he has already missed so much due to the lockout.
But on the other hand it was a sad day as the Panthers also offically released the last remaining original Panther kicker John Kasay. Kasay had been with the team since its inaugural year in 1995 and is the teams all-time leader in points.
Kasay was always a class act, a true professional and arguably the best Panther player ever. He deserves to have his number retired and a statue errected up someone in or right outside of Bank of American Stadium. Sure, he had a couple moves that leave you wanting to tear you hair out, ala the Super Bowl kickoff out-of-bounds, but outside of that Kasay was one of the only true things the Panthers had that you could count on.
But this wasn’t all the news as it has seemed to come in bunches everyday this week. Today was also the day the Panthers reported to camp at Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C. Training camp might be one of my favorite things in football. It cracks me up. Think about it, you have 96 grown men, many of who are multimillionaires, and you stuff them into college dorm rooms. Its hilarious to me.
But anyway sorry for that tangent back to real news. Last night the Panthers made middle linebacker Jon Beason the highest paid linebacker in NFL history when they gave him a $50 million cotract extension over five seasons. And let me be the first one to say Jon deserved it. He paid his dues, played his butt off no matter the score or situation and is the unquestioned leader of not only the defense but this team.
The Panthers also made a few more house cleaning moves, releasing defensive end Tyler Brayton and Hilee Taylor, as well as defensive tackle Ed Johnson and quarterback Keith Null.
As far as the other free agents go, the Panthers have come to agreements with seven of their eight draft picks. The only one who has yet to sign is the Panthers first third round pick and former Oklahoma defensive tackle Terrell McClain. If he knows what good for him, he would sign quickly. Defensive tackle is a weak position and McClain has a chance to start if he comes in and picks up the system well.
Corner back Brandon Hogan has signed but failed his physical. It was not that all unexpected as Hogan is coming off of knee surgery so expect him to start on the physically unable to perform list to start the season.