Marty Hurney is often given the title by fans of 'cap wizard'; a salubrious moniker use to denote the faith fans have in his ability to construct deals, and fit them together like over sized puzzle pieces. Recently the Panthers have been swimming upstream against a tide of public opinion, first spending far too little money, and now being foolish with their loosening of the purse strings.
This afternoon ESPN's Pat Yasinskas got a look at the breakdown of Jonathan Stewart's new contract, and gave us a glimpse into how it hits the future cap. After looking at the numbers I think it's a pretty genius contract that keeps low liability for the organization.
The 5-year contract weighs in at $37.811 million, with $23 million guaranteed.
2012: $2.98 million base ($4.78 million cap hit)
2013: $1 million base ($2.8 million cap hit)
2014: $9 million option/roster bonus $1.5 million base ($5.5 million cap hit)
2015: $4.25 million base ($9.8 million cap hit)
2016: $5.5 million base ($8.5 million cap hit)
It's truly a beautifully constructed deal that keeps Stewart's cap number extremely manageable until the 2015 season, where like DeAngelo Williams it's likely the Panthers will explore a re-structuring. It's a see-sawing deal that works for both parties, and when the biggest cap hits become due we should see the bump needed in the salary cap due to new TV deals.
Everything the Panthers are building towards is Cam Newton's eventual payday, and thus far creative contracts is ensuring this wont be as bad as initially thought.