4 worst moments of 2020 for the Carolina Panthers

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton and Greg Olsen /

The Cam Newton/Greg Olsen departures

A new regime was always going to come with big changes regarding the Carolina Panthers this offseason. They were well within their right to do so after a period of stagnation under previous head coach Ron Rivera, but the way they handled certain situations left a lot to be desired.

This bears special significance with Cam Newton and Greg Olsen, two offensive weapons who played a leading role in the team’s success in recent years. Both individuals were moved on without so much as a thank you and despite COVID-19 restricting the way they could be appreciated, a better solution should have been found.

Newton’s predicament left a sour taste in the mouth. The 2015 NFL MVP was released at a time when there were few starting roles to compete for late in free agency and this ended with the quarterback signing for a New England Patriots team that was in a substantial period of transition with relatively little in the way of talent.

In truth, Newton could have been released the moment Carolina signed Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. And given how that move has worked out, the former No. 1 overall pick can feel rightfully aggrieved.

Olsen was another who the Panthers decided not to bring back. But there appears little doubt that the tight end deserved to finish his career with a better chance of contending for a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks.

That being said, this situation was another they might have handled with a little more compassion and even thought twice about considering how disappointing Ian Thomas has been in the primary role.