Tolbert was asked by The Athletic whether Carolina did Newton wrong by waiting too long to release him.
“They’ve been doing him wrong timing-wise for the past two or three years, if you ask me,” the former fullback said. “It goes back to his shoulder surgery. Everyone knew his shoulder was messed up in the middle of the year two years ago. But they wait until offseason gets ready to start to have shoulder surgery. Makes no sense. Timing’s off.
“As soon as he got hurt [last] preseason against the Patriots, they were saying, ‘Oh, he’s got a high-ankle sprain.’ … But you wait ’til December for him to beg you to have surgery. He shouldn’t have been out there Week 1 and 2. He shouldn’t have been out there probably ’til Week 4 or 5, at minimum.”
Fear of further injuries may be what’s keeping NFL teams from signing Newton. He only played two games for the Panthers last season. The team brought in a new coach in Matt Rhule during the offseason and signed Teddy Bridgewater to be the future starter and P.J. Walker to back him up.
Newton was selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 draft by the Panthers. He won one MVP award and led the Panthers to a Super Bowl during the 2015 season – only to lose to the Denver Broncos.