Poll: Cam Newton’s Next Contract

Cam Newton still has one more year remaining on his contract with the Panthers, and the franchise tag ensures that Carolina wouldn’t necessarily have to extend him by the end of the 2015 season in order to keep him under club control. Still, with Newton nearing the end of his rookie deal, it seems logical that the two sides will engage in serious negotiations this offseason in the hopes of working out a long-term agreement.

Yesterday, we heard from Ian Rapoport of NFL.com that the Panthers do indeed believe Newton is their quarterback of the future, indicating that the team would like to lock him up with a new deal. However, the former first overall pick has informed the club he isn’t interested in an extension structured like Colin Kaepernick‘s new contract, which is something of a pay-as-you-go arrangement for the 49ers. While Kaepernick’s extension features a sizable chunk of salary guaranteed for injury, only $13MM+ is fully guaranteed.

A contract similar to Matt Ryan‘s current agreement with the Falcons may make more sense for Newton, according to Rapoport. It’s not clear based on his tweet whether that’s merely Rapoport’s opinion, whether that’s what Newton’s camp will be looking for, or whether both Newton and the team are open to such a structure. But it’s worth considering the differences between Ryan’s and Kaepernick’s deals, which aren’t far off in terms of years and overall value.

Kaepernick’s six-year contract has a base value of $114MM, good for $19MM annually, but again, only about $13MM of that total is guaranteed, meaning the Niners could cut ties in a year or two without being on the hook for much dead money. Ryan, conversely, has a five-year, $103.75MM deal ($20.75MM annually) that includes $42MM in fully guaranteed money.

Like Ryan’s deal, recent extensions signed by QBs like Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, and Jay Cutler all included at least $38MM in guarantees, making them significantly more lucrative than the pacts signed by Kaepernick and Andy Dalton ($17MM). While Newton has been effective for Carolina since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2011, his passing numbers don’t necessarily match up with some of the most highest-paid signal-callers in the league, and as he plays out his next contract, the value he adds with his legs may diminish.

So what do you think? Is Newton really worth a deal in Ryan territory? Or does a Kaepernick-esque contract make more sense?

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