Though we don't have any framework for what a pay scale would look like, what we do know per USA Today is that the owners are ensuring they get a rookie pay scale in the next CBA. USA Today directly cites Cam Newton when discussing what a wage scale could mean. Regardless of what the final amount is, it seems highly unlikely Cam Newton will get anything close to what Sam Bradford made last year with his $50 million guaranteed, or even the $41 million Matthew Stafford made in 2009.
If I had to intuit what Cam Newton could make based on reading many perspectives on the pay scale I'll throw a number out there: 6 years, $50 million with $20 million guaranteed. This seems like a reasonable figure that represents roughly a 36% overall salary cut from what Bradford made in 2010, and a 60% cut in guaranteed money. I call this 'reasonable' because this isn't money the owners save entirely, it is just redistributed to veterans and the retired players pension plan. This represents the 'why' the NFLPA are agreeing to this scale.
Under my figures outlined above Newton's contract would be much closer to what Eli Manning made as the #1 overall pick in the 2004 draft when Eli received a 6 years, $48 million deal with approximated $18 million guaranteed.
If these figures are even remotely accurate the Panthers dodged a bullet and picked a good year to go after the QB with the #1 pick.