The majority of people who spoke to Sando expect Carolina to eventually lock Newton up in the next year or so. However, Sando mentions that this “isn’t as straightforward as it could have been.”
“[W]ith Newton struggling and the Panthers fading to 3-7-1 after a disheartening defeat to Atlanta, the situation isn’t as straightforward as it could have been — especially after Carolina fired the people responsible for making Newton the first overall choice in the 2011 draft.”
Sando adds that if Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was intent on Newton being their franchise quarterback, he would have brought in more talent to surround Cam this season.
You could make the case that Gettleman was forced to make some tough decisions this past year in order to get in better shape regarding their future cap space, but there is no question that the Panthers lack of impact players at receiver and on their offensive line unit have contributed to their poor 2014 season.
One negotiator that spoke to Sando mentioned that he expects the Panthers to sign Newton to similar a deal to the one Chicago gave to Jay Cutler last year, which would pay Cam an average of $18.1 million per year and include around $54 million guaranteed.
Sando brings up interesting point which is that Newton ranks sixth in QBR for quarterbacks from 2006 – 2014 with 59 starts, but if you remove Cam’s rushing plays, which happens to be an area where quarterbacks decline over time, he drops to ninth behind guys like Andy Dalton, Jason Campbell and Josh Freeman.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported a few weeks ago that Newton has no interest in a similar contract to the one signed by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, and instead could be looking for a contract that’s more in line with what Matt Ryan received from the Falcons.
The Panthers picked up Newton’s fifth-year option, which will run them $14.666 million for the 2015 season. On top of that, Carolina will have the franchise tag at their disposal in 2016, so there may not be a rush to get a deal done right now from their point of view.
Newton, 25, has thrown for 2,392 yards and completed 58.6 percent of his passes to go along with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Newton has also contributed 293 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground.
Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 10 quarterback in the league this season.