The Panthers were scheduled to meet with the representatives for quarterback Cam Newton at the combine in Indianapolis today, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, and the two sides are expected to open talks on a contract extension. Newton is under contract for 2015 via his fifth-year option, which will pay him a base salary of $14.67MM.
According to Person, Newton isn’t in a hurry to get a long-term deal hammered out. Instead, the 25-year-old would prefer to wait for Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson to sign extensions, presumably setting the market (and ceiling) for his own contract. Luck is expected to receive an annual average value nearing $25MM, while recent reports have suggested that Wilson could garner a fully guaranteed contract, or something close to it. As Person writes, Newton would probably fall within the $20MM per year range, with a contract comparable to Joe Flacco or Tony Romo.
After Luck and Wilson ink their extensions, Newton will hear Carolina’s offer, and then decide if he’d like to remain with the club for the foreseeable future, says Person. Newton, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, has made it clear that he isn’t interested in a Colin Kaepernick-like contract structure — the 49ers QB accepted a deal with a hefty total value but little guaranteed money. The Panthers could opt to place the franchise tag on Newton to retain him in 2016, but the one-year cap hit to keep a quarterback is prohibitive.