Leading up to the NFL draft one of the biggest criticisms regarding Cam Newton was how unpolished he was as a quarterback, and this critique was definitely warranted; however, this was often coupled with comments regarding his rookie contract. Numerous analysts said something to the effect of
"You'll be looking at upwards of $50 million for Newton, and that's a major risk for an unpolished QB"
Today we can safely say that Cam Newton will not cost the Carolina Panthers $50 million, and his total contract wont even be close to that. Last night via Twitter NFL insider Jason LaCanfora spilled the bean directly on what it appears Newton's contract will be. According to LaCanfora, Cam Newton will receive a 5 year, $35 million contract with the 5th year being the option that we're still yet to see figures on.
This represents a truly amazing bargain for a #1 overall pick, easily the smallest contract in the last decade and now the risk of taking a QB as unpolished as Newton seems like a very minor risk.
More after the jump
To put this contract in perspective you need to look at other QBs from the past 5 NFL drafts (all maximum values):
- Vince Young (2006): 6 years (1 year option), $58 million
- Jamarcus Russell (2007): 6 years, $61 million
- Matt Ryan (2008): 6 years, $72 million
- Matthew Stafford (2009): 6 years, $72 million
- Sam Bradford (2010): 6 years, $78 million
Contract average: 6 years, $68.2 million
It's really quite startling to see the difference in these deals and the 5 years, $35 million Cam Newton will make. If rumors are true regarding the wording of the rookie scale then neither Cam, nor the Panthers would be allowed to restructure his deal until after the 3rd year of the contract. What this means is that theoretically he couldn't hold out for more money if he lights it up immediately.
If LaCanfora is correct regarding the salaries, then the Panthers could have arguably the biggest financial steal in the NFL draft in the last decade.