Cam Newton Joins the Big Boy Contracts

The Panthers announced that they have finalized an extension for quarterback Cam Newton. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter the contract is worth $103.76 million over 5 years and will include $67.6 million paid in the first three years. Schefter indicated that Newton will receive a $22.5 million signing bonus and $7.5 million roster bonus in 2015. Based on the reported numbers the contract is huge and will firmly plant Newton among the top players in the NFL. I think there is some confusion over the valuation of the contract. The reports all seem to be based upon new money, which is common, but the comparisons to the market are not being made using the same valuations.

A rumored $30 year payout by 2016 will tie Newton with Joe Flacco but fall well short of the other four major contracts, all of which were in the $40 million range in new money by the end of their first extension year. My assumption would be that Newton “catches up” in the third year of his contract where his $67.6 million will slightly trail Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgersand be a few million lower thn Ben Roethlisberger’s $70.4 million.

Newton’s initial compensation this year, which will increase by about $16.4 million is also well short of what the other extended QB’s received in what I cann “year 0 money”. That and the likelihood of a “catch up” contract is the likely tradeoff he accepted to get in this salary range.  Ryan Tannehill and Colin Kaepernick, both less established and regarded than Newton, took similar style deals to get in the $19 million per year range.

These are the relevant figures to compare when Newton’s details fully emerge:

PlayerFlaccoRyanBreesRodgersRoethlisberger
Year 0$0$20,000,000 $0$30,150,000$23,650,000
Year 1$30,000,000$41,500,000$40,000,000$41,750,000$41,400,000
Year 2$51,000,000$53,000,000$50,000,000$54,350,000$53,400,000
Year 3$62,000,000$68,750,000$61,000,000$68,000,000$70,400,000
Year 4$80,000,000$84,500,000$80,000,000$88,900,000$87,400,000
Year 5$100,600,000$103,750,000$100,000,000$110,000,000 –

Based on the numbers tweeted by Schefter, Newtons cap charge this season will be $13 million, a savings of $1.6 million against the cap for the Panthers. If he gets to $30 million in new oney next year that should leave Newton with a cap charge in the realm of $18.2 million.

I said it the other week when looking at the Tannehill deal that the other young and veteran players should have been thrilled to see his contract even though there are team friendly aspects to the contract. Tannehill was the least accomplished QB to ever receive a deal anywhere close to that number and that made it easy for a player like Newton to get a contract this size. I would anticipate Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck to piggyback off this and aim for over $23 million a year since they are more accomplished than Cam. Luck in particular will shoot for the moon and likely get it. Both the Seahawks and Colts, in my estimation, made mistakes by not getting deal’s done early and setting the market.

Whenever the numbers come out Ill update or add a new post detailing the contract and cap implications.

  • theowl

    Rodger’s deal is looking better and better for the Packers.

    • A.J.

      bet it gets redone soon

      • Ghoston

        Rodgers deal won’t be done until the Eli, Rivers Luck and Wilson deals are done.

  • McGeorge

    While Tannehill may not have the “physical gifts” that Newton has, I think he’s a better QB. I’ve not been impressed with Newton at all.
    However – it was worth it for the Panthers to do this deal. The alternative is to spend the next several years and a few 1st or 2nd round picks searching for their new QB. Some of those would be busts.

    So the Panthers aren’t paying Cam Newton, they are paying to avoid having to invest several draft picks and waste a few years sifting through busts.

    There aren’t enough Kyle Ortons to go around, so teams have to get by with worse.

    Andrew Luck should refuse to sign with the Colts, they are poorly run by Grigson.
    Go free agent, and pick a good team, and have a chance at some super bowls.

    • Derek Lamarr

      Andrew Luck wouldn’t really be a free agent for years. He has this year, his 5th year option, and at least one franchise tag. Even if he wants to play elsewhere, he’d be better off taking a 4 year deal with the Colts with built in protection against being franchised after the deal. He’s going to be there for the next 3-4 years anyway, might as well get a decent contract.

      • McGeorge

        I agree with you if he can get the deal you are describing.

    • Dan Kunze

      “So the Panthers aren’t paying Cam Newton, they are paying to avoid having to invest several draft picks and waste a few years sifting through busts.

      There aren’t enough Kyle Ortons to go around, so teams have to get by with worse.”
      THIS. Expertly said.

  • mike jones

    I’m one of hte longtime dolphin lurkers. al the way back to the jetscap days. I’m what you call a realist, other terms a cynic. cam is the real deal in terms of potential. something we’ve never seen in history physically. great record as far as the playoffs with aweek squad. he’s done more in the same division with brees and ryan with less in many ways. also a #1 overall. great deal for the panthers. if I was redrafting luck, ryan, tannehill, wilson, newton, and rg3, I probably take newton, because he still has a potential 20% over everyone else for the next 12 years. great contract, sight unseen.

    and I love tannehill.

    • Jim

      Ya, I don’t know about that. Outside of his attitude, you just don’t have the production in his 4 years. I understand his cast is a bit lacking, but the QB makes cast to an extent. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb don’t become rich men if EJ Manual is throwing the ball. Of course, guys like Calvin Johnson, AJ Green would be great no matter who the QB is, but they are the exception.

      Newton is a decreasing running threat every year, has yet to post more than 24 TD’s passing in a passing era. He has actually been remarkably consistent in his 4 years if you look at his QBR and passer rating. The problem is, he consistently ranks between the 12-16 best QB’s in the league. That’s a lot of money for an ever so slightly above average QB.

      Who knows, maybe they make a championship game or two or even a Super Bowl during the contract and it works out great. I understand you got to pay the guy because if you don’t, someone else will (he’s young, has more upside then we’ve seen). I’m just glad it’s not my team whose hand is forced to pay top 5 money for a consistently average production.

  • Kirk Vollmer

    Although Irsay said they arn’t doing Luck’s deal yet, part of me wonders if that isn’t just because Luck’s people are refusing to negotiate until they see how everyone else plays out. They had plenty of time and knew it. While they probably where not as interested in Tannehill’s numbers, I think they where certainly waiting to see what Cam’s contract looked like and they will want to see what Wilson’s contract looks like. Can’t say anything for certain but the refusal to negotiate a new deal might be on Luck’s side because his people likely know they can get more money if they just wait for Cam and Wilson to sign their new deals.

    • McGeorge

      I’ll do one better – why should Luck resign with the Colts? Take the risk, and go free agent. The Colts have a bad GM (Grigson), so why stay there?
      There are plenty of teams who will pay him what he wants, especially teams with no QB. He doesn’t even have to take the max. What if he wanted to go to the Patriots? How about the Eagles? The Jets would pay up.

      • mike jones

        worst GM in football perhaps. they plan as if they have a 39 qb with one more season in him, every single year.