Report: Cam Newton's Patriots Contract Terms Include Only $550K Guaranteed

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2020

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Mike McCarn/Associated Press

The New England Patriots are reportedly taking on very little risk when it comes to the one-year contract they signed quarterback Cam Newton to this week. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Newton will earn a base salary of $1.05 million and only $550,000 of it is guaranteed. Rapoport noted that the bulk of Newton's contract is made up of bonuses and incentives that could total $7.5 million if he reaches all of them.

Newton could reportedly earn $700,000 in per-game roster bonuses and a further $5.75 million in possible incentives.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe noted that the Pats are committing less money to the quarterback position this season than any other NFL team:

Although Newton was the Carolina Panthers' most successful quarterback in franchise history, they released him this offseason after signing Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Newton's recent string of significant injuries likely played heavily into the decision.

Newton missed the final two games of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury that seemed to adversely impact his ability to throw the ball down the field for much of the year. Then, Newton missed all but two games last season with a foot injury that required surgery.

There are significant question marks surrounding the 31-year-old's ability to stay healthy and return to the MVP level he once displayed, but it is a gamble worth taking for the Pats, especially at such a low price.

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After 20 years with the organization, future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady left the Patriots in free agency this offseason to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That left the Pats with second-year signal-caller Jarrett Stidham and journeyman Brian Hoyer under center.

Newton is a three-time Pro Bowler and was named NFL MVP in 2015 after throwing for 3,837 yards, 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to go along with 636 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

The Panthers went 15-1 that year and reached the Super Bowl, but Newton hasn't been the same ever since. He posted a career-best QBR of 67.0 that year, but he proceeded to post the three worst QBR marks of his career over the next three seasons.

Newton played only two games last season, but he completed 56.2 percent of his passes for no touchdowns and one interception and also rushed five times for minus-2 yards. The sample size is small, but it is concerning, especially if he isn't fully over the foot injury.

Brady thrived for many years in New England despite not being fleet of foot, but Newton's running ability is one of his greatest assets. He might not be as effective as he once was if that part of his game is significantly hindered.

There's no guarantee that Newton will be New England's starter when the season begins since Stidham will likely be given every opportunity to earn the starting job as well. But considering Newton's ceiling and how little it took to sign him, he was well worth bringing in.

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