Looking at the breakdown on Drew Brees contract we get a feel for what the Panthers will be looking at in a couple seasons when Cam Newton's rookie deal expires. Brees is getting $60M guaranteed that includes a huge chunck up front:
Breaking down Drew Brees' deal - NFC South Blog - ESPN
As the signing bonus is prorated over the contract term of five years, Brees’ cap number this year consists of the prorated bonus amount ($7.4 million), plus the salary ($3 million). This $10.4 million compares favorably to the $16.371 cap number that the Saints were carrying on Brees, a savings of almost $6 million to the Saints’ tight cap.
As you would expect the Saints helped their cap number in the present to the tune of $6M in 2012 savings. So he's getting $40M in year one essentially and $55M over two seasons. Here's a look at year three:
Similar to 2013, the Saints will have three days to either release Brees -- letting him walk with $55 million earned over two seasons -- or activate another $5 million guaranteed. That would put Brees’ total guarantee at $60 million, another NFL record. And, for good measure, he has a $1 million salary in 2014, bringing his three-year earnings to $61 million.
The $61 million over three years is -- technically -- not the highest three-year amount in the history of the NFL. That honor goes to the contract signed 11 months ago between the Colts and Peyton Manning, with three-year earnings of $70 million. However, as we know, that contract never saw Manning play a game and was terminated in March, allowing Manning to become a free agent and sign with the Broncos.
Unless newton just goes out of his mind he might be in line for about $100M 5 year deal around $60M. Actually the Panthers might be lucky to get him for that much if he has the kind of seasons we expect over the rest of his current contract.
Brees contract calls for $19M and then $20M for years four and five but those would not be guaranteed. At his age I suspect the Saints might not want to pay a 37 year old QB $20M a season though I would not sell Brees short on still being a very good QB at that age.
Newton on the other hand should be well worth those numbers as he moves into his prime years in his late 20's. I'm just hopeful he will prove to be worth every dollar in the form of playoff wins!