Nolan gave up the captain's armband in favour of a move to West Ham United last month and Pardew says it was an easy decision to let him go after it became clear what kind of contract Nolan was after.
Pardew does not believe Nolan would be in the Newcastle team in five years never mind skipper, so decided to sell him to the Hammers.
"Kevin didn't want to stay, that's the end of the debate. Kevin couldn't get a contract for four or five years," Pardew revealed. "My opinion is that we couldn't give Kevin a five-year contract because if Kevin isn't playing first-team football, he isn't going to be the leader that we want, I am convinced of that.
"Kevin is so full-on as the captain of a football club and at the level he has gone to now, he will easily cope with that and he will come back to the Premier League.
"But in four or five years' time, Kevin needs to be doing the business in the first team, and we couldn't and I couldn't see that possibly happening here at Newcastle, and we had to make a decision on that."