Cam Newton Seeking Extension

Our own Dallas Robinson let it be known that Cam Newton will not hold out while looking for a long-term contract, but that doesn’t mean the Panthers quarterback is content to let his current deal play out. Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer writes that Newton would like the team to come to terms with him on a long term extension.

“My agreement with the Panthers, it’s not something that you can just say off the top of your head,” Newton said. “Hopefully I will be able to get that long-term deal because Charlotte is a place that I can call home.”

Because Newton was the first quarterback selected under the new CBA, he is in a unique position coming into the final year of his original contract, and the Panthers have a team option for a fifth year. While the other quarterbacks selected in that first round (Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder) have all failed to live up to the expectations that come with being a top quarterback picked, it is unlikely that their teams will pick up the team option unless something drastic changes in 2014. Therefore, Newton is alone in having to deal with the team-friendly rules that enable the Panthers to hold on to their franchise quarterback an extra year without committing to him as the quarterback of the future.

The fear for players drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is that not only will the teams exercise the fifth year option, but then will still have the option to apply the franchise tag to them. That gives the team six years of control of a player’s career. The individual player would have very little leverage in this situation, and the thought is that it could cause a player to hold out until he is given a new deal.

When Robinson wrote that Newton would not hold out, he mentioned that Cardinal cornerback Patrick Peterson might hold out to ensure a long-term contract. Star defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson also has had to deal with questions about a potential holdout.

Newton is right about the reasons his situation is different when talking about holding out. He is the face of that franchise, and as a quarterback, a leader on that team.

Of course, no matter what he says publicly, no player wants to play on a one-year contract in that fifth year, with no long-term security. This is especially true when a team can place a franchise tag on a player rather than committing to them and providing the financial security that comes with a contract extension. The longer the Panthers push negotiation talks into the future, the more likely a potential holdout from the face of the franchise becomes.

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