The Panthers Didn’t Over-Pay Cam Newton

Editor’s note:  I’m now out of school for the Summer.  Have lots of cool ideas for columns in my head.  Expect a little more content from me on a weekly basis. 

I’ve always liked Cam Newton as a football player.  He’s big, strong, and has a great arm.  He’s mobile, but not in a way that’ll get himself hurt on the field.  He has a unique body type for a quarterback.  Newton is just a fun player.

The Panthers made sure they kept him.  Last week, Carolina signed Newton to a five year, $103.8 million contract extension, with $60 million of it guaranteed.  Newton was under contract for this upcoming year, and was then a free agent.  The Panthers, with locking him up, allowed him to not hit the free agent market in 2016.

He got a lot of money.  $60 million of it is guaranteed.  However, rather than paying Newton at the end of the contract, $40 million of that guaranteed money is owed to him in the next two years.  This is all precautionary by Carolina.  It allows them to pay him while he’s still in his prime, since paying a guy while he’s declining is not ideal.

Throughout the five year deal, Cam Newton’s average cap hit per year is $20.7 million.  That’s an average, keep in mind.  However, that tells a lot.  It’s a very good marker for how Newton’s deal compares to others.  The $20.7 million average cap hit ranks 3rd in the league.  So, the Panthers are paying Newton like he’s a top five QB, which is okay to their front office.

Why?  Well, look at that starting roster!  Their isn’t a whole lot there besides Newton.  They have a couple decent running backs, like Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert (fullback, actually).  The wide receiver core is improving, after taking Kelvin Benjamin in last year’s Draft and Devin Funchess in this year’s 2nd round.  They do have Greg Olsen, who’s quietly becoming one of the better tight ends in the league.

Carolina’s offensive line is concerning, as it has been for awhile.  Newton may or may not be injury prone.  He had a bad ankle early last season (missed one game due to it), but that improved throughout the year.  Then, he was involved in the car accident, which obviously was an off the field thing.  Bottom line, Newton may be injury prone, but he sure is tough.  He only missed one game after the car accident, since he suffered a back injury.

The Panthers’ offensive line consists of no guards I’ve even heard of, and Jonathan Martin and Michael Oher as starting tackles.  Not great.  Ryan Kalil at center is the only bright spot on this line.  Whether you consider Newton injury prone or not, you have to be worried about that line.

The reason why Newton got all that money?  Carolina feels he’s the only reason why this team won the crappy NFC South last year.  And it’s probably the only reason why they think they can do it again this year.  There isn’t anything else on offense to help out Cam, yet.  Carolina’s still building their roster, and it’s gonna take awhile to do that, due to the hellish cap situation they’re in.  Newton perhaps means more to the Panthers than any other QB does to their team.  That’s why he’s getting paid like he is.


Not totally writing about this, but I’d just like to name some of the people the 49ers have lost this offseason.

  • Patrick Willis
  • Chris Borland
  • Mike Iupati
  • Frank Gore
  • Michael Crabtree
  • Jim Harbaugh
  • Anthony Davis
  • Andy Lee
  • Justin Smith
  • OC (Greg Roman)
  • DC (Vic Fangio)

Have fun next year, 49ers fans!

All numbers from