On Tuesday morning, the Carolina Panthers issued a press release stating that longtime quarterback Cam Newton had been given permission to seek a trade.

It’s fairly standard boilerplate stuff, making it sound like it was a mutual decision (or even that Newton had sought a way out of the organization.)

The Panthers on Tuesday gave quarterback Cam Newton permission to seek a trade. General manager Marty Hurney met with Newton and his representation to discuss the plan, signaling the end of a nine-year run in Carolina.

“One of the distinct pleasures of my career was selecting Cam with the first pick in the 2011 draft,” Hurney said. “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 team also announced it on Instagram, which led to Newton himself replying via a comment (and in a very on-brand font):

If you don’t have your decoder ring with you today, here’s a translation:

“Stop with the word play!! I never asked for it!! 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!! — 1OVE.”

So, yeah, that’s Newton essentially saying the Panthers actually just told him to get out. Longtime Carolina tight end Greg Olsen replied to Newton on that post with “Sounds familiar.”

Then, within an hour or so of Newton’s comment and the Panthers announcement, news broke that the Panthers were signing free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to replace Newton.

What interesting timing! It definitely doesn’t look at all like Carolina knew they were about to land Bridgewater and decided to put out that statement in an effort to make it seem like they weren’t just dumping a franchise player out the door.

As to where Newton lands, these are the current odds:

This offseason is going to end up being quite the quarterback carousel; just today we’ve had Tom Brady announce he was leaving New England, along with the comings and goings in Carolina. Next year’s NFL landscape could end up looking a lot different at this rate. Let’s just hope there is a next year’s NFL.

[Panthers]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.