Yesterday, news broke that Carolina was close to finalizing a long-term deal with Cam Newton. The numbers you will hear will be big, eclipsing more than 100 million total value of the contract. Don't pay one iota to the mega numbers that come out in the initial reports.
Remember the Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, and Ryan Tannehill deals? The initial numbers were huge, but when you get into the details of the contract, the money is funny and never adds up. So take a pause when you hear that Cam Newton signed a 5-year 120 million dollar deal, and breath knowing that is not the number to focus on. If Cam Newton were to play out the life of that contract, you'll likely be very happy with the direction of the team because that means they will be kicking butt. If he doesn't play up to that value, you can believe that Cam Newton will never see the final years of his mega deal. The number to focus on is the fully guaranteed dollars. It's the only number that really matters. All the other money due is really at the discretion of the team after that to whether the player is living up to the value of those non-guaranteed dollars (see the Adrian Peterson rant). When you heard the big totals in Tannhill deal come out and that super figure of 77 million, or Kaepernick's 116 million, it's hard to swallow. But when you find out the Dolphins are really only locked in to 21 million and the 49ers with an even more friendly 12 million, the deals are nowhere close to blockbuster.
So now that you've paused and collected yourself, you'll be surprised that I think Newton's deal, that will reportedly be finalized sometime this week, will be blockbuster and for much more than expected. Here's what contract insiders are forecasting currently:
The most important number to know: Sense is Cam Newton’s GUARANTEED money will be north of $40 million.— Black & Blue Review (@BlackBlueReview) June 1, 2015
The most stunning part, I believe, is that Newton's guaranteed money will surpass 50 million guaranteed. Yes, it really could eclipse 50 million. Now what follows is simply speculation and a gut feeling. This is no way breaking news or even based on anything more than simple speculation.
So why do I believe this?
1) Why not? We haven't seen Dave Gettleman negotiate a big contract yet. He's seemed shrewd and even cheap in free agency, but he also seems to have this team on the cusp of becoming a consistent winning club, even Super Bowl contenders. The key pieces are in place, the vision is coming to fruition, but without a quarterback, it will be all for naught. Cam is a quarterback that gives you the opportunity to win now, and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
2) Carolina has a ton of money coming off the books after this season, which gives the resources they need to keep Cam, lock down Luke Kuechly next season, and target Kawaan Short for an extension in 2016. From what I can roughly estimate, if the salary cap wasn't to increase at all in 2016, Carolina would have 54 million in cap space to work with....that's a lot!
3) Whatever seems outrageous now will seem normal in three years. The salary cap is consistently rising by a conservative rate of 7% per season. Locking up Newton now and paying him what many will feel will be beyond his value will be a discount in 2017. Franchising Cam would only make it worse.
4) Bus Cook, Cam's agent, goes after the big guarantees. Just look at the Jay Cutler deal, where he secured 38 million dollars fully guaranteed, and that was two seasons ago! Look to another one of Cook's big deals negotiated on Calvin Johnson's behalf, where he secured a whopping 48 million fully guaranteed. He knows that this is where the money is made for his clients, and I can't see him taking it easy on Carolina with such a valuable commodity as Cam Newton.
The cap is climbing, the value of franchise quarterbacks continues to climb, and Cam Newton will ride the tidal wave of money in Carolina. So do you think we will be stunned by the Cam Newton contract figures? Do you think his guaranteed money will eclipse 50 million?
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles