GM Dave Gettleman has exhausted every way he knows how to say Newton is the team’s franchise quarterback. The third-year GM won’t get into contract specifics, but Wednesday he told the Observer he believes Newton’s long-term future will be in Charlotte. “We want him here. I want him here,” Gettleman said. “The contract, in its time, will take place. I’m not going to get into the when, where, why and how of the contract. But we believe in Cam. He’s our franchise quarterback." Reported by the Charlotte Observer
Gettleman’s directness in describing Newton as the team’s franchise quarterback contrasts with his statements at training camp before the 2013 season. In his first year as the team’s general manager, Gettleman said Newton was the quarterback to build around after a 7-second pause, and then added, “now it’s time to win.” Gettleman laughed off the pause in an interview Wednesday, and he also dispelled any notions that Newton wasn’t his kind of quarterback. Gettleman pointed out that Seattle and Indianapolis – as well as Green Bay, San Francisco, Baltimore, New England, Denver and Cincinnati – have gone to the playoffs at least three times in the past four years. He noted the common denominator is that all eight teams have franchise quarterbacks, and a playoff trip for Carolina next season would make nine teams. “We’re a quarterback-driven league. That’s just the way it is,” said Gettleman.