As QB Decision Looms, Panthers Fans Urge 'Keep Cam In Carolina'
The Carolina Panthers have a new coach with last week’s hiring of Matt Rhule, but the team still has a major decision to make this off season: Will it release, trade or keep quarterback Cam Newton?
Panthers fan Cutty Cutright is among those making his voice heard.
The professional jingle writer wrote a catchy song last month urging, "Keep Cam in Carolina."
The Charlotte resident hopes his song has some sway with Panthers management and coaches as they decide whether to pay Newton $21 million to return next season. Newton won the NFL’s MVP award and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl four years ago. But injuries made the last two seasons rough. This past season, he missed all but two games because of a foot injury.
Cutright is confident that Newton will be back to form next season, so he released this Panthers-themed song on social media with the hashtag #KeepCamInCarolina. Cutright also has faith in Panthers owner David Tepper -- as he wrote in his song.
"David Tepper is clever, I believe that he never, would let Cam Newton leave the Panthers, ain’t no quarterback better," he raps.
Meanwhile, the hashtag inspired fellow Panthers fan Jesse Hardy to pose a question to followers of his Twitter handle, @PanthersCulture.
"Maybe we should put up a billboard outside of Bank of America Stadium to let management know, to let David Tepper know, ownership, that there are fans who really care about Cam Newton staying in Charlotte," Hardy said. "We know how much he means not only to the football team, but to the community."
He set up a GoFundMe account for that purpose. Fans responded with $4,400 dollars in donations -- enough to fund two electronic billboards. They went up last month – one outside the Panthers’ stadium, and the other off I-77 near Billy Graham Parkway, declaring #KeepCamInCarolina and Cam-olina.
The billboard by the stadium was only up for a week, and the one off I-77 comes down Sunday.
No matter what the Panthers decide, Hardy said he knows the impact of the billboards is limited.
"I knew when I did a billboard that it wasn't anything that would guarantee that the team would see that and be like, 'Oh, yeah, you know, these fans are crazy. Let's keep Cam for that.,'" Hardy said, laughing. "It was always going to be a business decision that was gonna be left up to Dave Tepper."
And if Newton plays somewhere else next season, Hardy hopes the billboards at least let the quarterback know how much Panthers fans appreciate everything he’s done.
"We also want to let Cam know that his time here has been appreciated," Hardy said. "So regardless of what happens with him, if they decide to move on from him, he can look at that sentiment and see that he did have support from the fan base."