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Cam Newton will make roughly $22 million in first four seasons

NFL football draft prospect Cam Newton from Auburn reacts at the NFL PLAY 60 football event in New York AP

In the past, No. 1 overall picks at quarterback were paid like they were among the very best players at their position.

Now they are paid like below average starters.

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reported that NFLPA* reps were told in a presentation Wednesday that Cam Newton would make roughly $22 million in the first four years of his contract.  (There is room for some negotiation.) The Panthers will have a fifth year option which the players estimate would be worth $14 million, for an estimate of $36 million over five years.

Of course that fifth year is hardly guaranteed.  JaMarcus Russell, David Carr, and Tim Couch are among the recent No. 1 quarterbacks that would never have received that fifth year option.

To put the deal in perspective, Sam Bradford signed a six-year, $78 million contract with the Rams last year. He got $50 million guaranteed.

We knew all along that top ten picks were going to take a big hit in the new labor deal, but this is pretty dramatic.  It the rare issue that players, owners, and fans all seemed to agree on.

Top 10 picks will have to earn their biggest money in second NFL contracts, just like the rest of the league.

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92 Responses to “Cam Newton will make roughly $22 million in first four seasons”
  1. descendency says: Jul 22, 2011 3:52 PM

    Just a few million more than he’d have made at Auburn.

  2. tedskins333 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:53 PM

    $22 million only, how will he survive………

  3. orakpownd says: Jul 22, 2011 3:53 PM

    Only 22 Mil? How is he gonna eat?

  4. minormillikin says: Jul 22, 2011 3:53 PM

    How will he survive? I guess he’ll have to settle on a private island from the bargain bin.

  5. ididntsaythat says: Jul 22, 2011 3:54 PM

    WOW! Only 22million for the first four years! I know folks who will work 50 hour weeks their entire life and not see anything near that!

    Now that I am reading this these players, most with an IQ of a Gnat, should just cut the tweets and big talk and listen to Demaurice Smith who at least understands how good a deal they got!

  6. h8trsgonnah8 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:55 PM

    This part of the CBA was a no-brainer. Even J. Harrison could come up with that.

  7. deadeye says: Jul 22, 2011 3:55 PM

    This is a win for both players and owners. The high salary floor will help raise average pay for all players, and now rookies will have to earn the big bucks. No more JeMarcus Russell’s, thank goodness.

  8. phillychzstk2012 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:56 PM

    good.

  9. bhester1906 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:57 PM

    That’s not to fair. Yes contracts for rookies is a problem but he is gonna triple that for the owners by simply suiting up. He should get a little more money than that in my opinion.

  10. pakrbakr76 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:57 PM

    jeeez, ONLY 22 million

  11. jessieboom says: Jul 22, 2011 3:57 PM

    There are only 10 people that are gonna complain about the top 10 draftees makin’ less money.

  12. albanyhawker says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    AMEN!

  13. antalicus says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    I love how you say only. This is what is needed to get these rookie players big heads back to Earth so they stop becoming busts so early.

  14. jakek2 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    Say good bye to the superior two sport athlete who now will most certainly choose baseball over football.

  15. johnnyb216 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    I don’t care!! Just let me know when the damn lockout is over.

  16. hunst009 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    This makes complete sense!! If they are good enough, their time will come. Who knows, maybe Jamarcus would have been successful if he had to earn it…oh wait he just sucks.

  17. marader78 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    I like this…As a Raider fan its bittersweet, wish this was in place when we drafted JaBust Walruss

  18. tombradysbaby says: Jul 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    It’s about fricken time this came to an end. Prove they’re worth the megabucks! We’ll gladly support these guys if/when they become superstars, and it’s not like $22mil is something to scoff at.

  19. whitetail28 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:00 PM

    Ill take 24 mill 4 the next 4 years in the real world. Are there any openings??

  20. bdawk20 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:00 PM

    Good, maybe it will force some of these rookies to not get complacent and actually strive to progress. Of course, going from $100K college bonuses to a little over $6MM/year is still a pretty drastic lifestyle change, but hopefully it curbs the bust rate which is a win/win for everyone involved.

  21. thephantomstranger says: Jul 22, 2011 4:01 PM

    bhester1906 says:
    Jul 22, 2011 3:57 PM
    That’s not to fair. Yes contracts for rookies is a problem but he is gonna triple that for the owners by simply suiting up. He should get a little more money than that in my opinion.
    ______________

    You’re saying Cam Newton suiting up is worth $66 million in additional revenue? That’s a lot of jersey sales.

  22. Spencer says: Jul 22, 2011 4:01 PM

    In other news, Carolina is set back for a decade.

  23. dafranchize says: Jul 22, 2011 4:01 PM

    Huge difference between Sam Bradford and Cam Newton.

  24. frostbelt says: Jul 22, 2011 4:02 PM

    MUCH BETTER

  25. alexanderisland says: Jul 22, 2011 4:02 PM

    Well, good start but is this a flat rate $22 million? I mean, 5.5 million a year for polishing your dérriére on the pine sounds great, but if you are throwing for 6.000 yards as a QB per season, it does fall quite short of market value. Are there any incentives worded/allowed in the contract, etc.?

  26. cantonbound13 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:02 PM

    Only 22 million to play a game?

  27. terrellblowens says: Jul 22, 2011 4:02 PM

    Von Miller will sue again for being “underpaid”

  28. Stupid Raiders Fan says: Jul 22, 2011 4:03 PM

    Looks just right to me.

  29. upperdecker19 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:03 PM

    WOW!!! That’s a bargain for an icon.

  30. cantonbound13 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:04 PM

    that’s chump change. I spent that on donuts and cough syrup last year
    - Jamarcus Russell

  31. mikerol124 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:04 PM

    If teams aren’t shelling out huge guaranteed dollars at the top of the draft, trades into the top 10 should become pretty interesting on Draft Day.

  32. reticarga says: Jul 22, 2011 4:04 PM

    Anyone know how long it’s been since a #1 pick got paid that much?

  33. msbush32 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:05 PM

    Yeah but how much does his Dad get?

  34. thedeej3000 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:05 PM

    Only 22 million? Poor guy… I wonder how he will feed his kids.

  35. doresb21 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:06 PM

    And how much of that $22 mill will Scam be sending to Andrew Luck for passing on this years draft ?

  36. skoobyfl says: Jul 22, 2011 4:06 PM

    I’m sure his other job from his college education would of paid him substantially more, so I feel for him.

  37. golonger says: Jul 22, 2011 4:07 PM

    He’s overpaid…..even at that….he is terrible and going to be a …HUGE BUST!

  38. gregjennings85 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:09 PM

    This makes a lot more sense than the old trend of top-10 deals.

    Further, a rookie wage scale, like the one the NBA has, is much easier on the clubs in regard to getting their top picks to camp, more important in football, on time.

    Just think of how many rookies’ first seasons were marred by injury or not being up to speed with playbooks, due to missing camp in order to essentially make themselves somewhere in the range of $1-2 million more in their deals?

    In reality, that was all about their agents trying to squeeze every last drop out of their clients while they still had the chance, and the team in turn looking to do the same.

    The only party that lost out was the kids.

  39. netherscourge says: Jul 22, 2011 4:10 PM

    Hey – if he plays well those first 4 years, he’ll get more money – and he’ll actually have EARNED IT!

  40. lesticles1983 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:12 PM

    ….and eventually one less Heisman trophy.

  41. contra74 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:13 PM

    “It the rare issue that players, owners, and fans all seemed to agree on.”
    ————-
    See what happens when you guys spit out 7 different articles spun off of one legit story? Your spelling goes to hell but in your case you simply have no excuse cause it happens almost every other story.

  42. zombieeye says: Jul 22, 2011 4:14 PM

    This is the #1 thing that NEEDED to happen in the new CBA. I was so sick of all of the draft busts walking away with $50m in their pocket. Now these guys at the top of the draft will actually work, study and strive to get better to earn their payday instead of playing XBox all day.

  43. theysone says: Jul 22, 2011 4:15 PM

    And yet the average American, who ends up paying these athletes salaries, will make LESS than 1% of that.

    RIDICULOUS!

  44. panther17 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:15 PM

    bhester1906 says: Jul 22, 2011 3:57 PM

    That’s not to fair. Yes contracts for rookies is a problem but he is gonna triple that for the owners by simply suiting up. He should get a little more money than that in my opinion.

    ______________________________________

    Are you freaking kidding me? The kid, again kid, will make 22 mil next 4 years plus merchandise sells and advertising deals. That is 5.5+ mil a year for someone who hasn’t touched a NFL field on game day yet.

    I’m not sure if they get a percentage of merchandise sells actually but you know he has advertising deals that me makes money off of.

    The kid is set for life with good choices whether he succeeds in football or not.

  45. lionfan419 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:19 PM

    i think id rather have Joey Harrington still over Cam Newton!!!!

  46. Chris Fiorentino says: Jul 22, 2011 4:20 PM

    He got BAMBOOZLED!!!!!!

  47. glen1904 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:25 PM

    top athletes will do much better to concentrate on baseball or basketball from here on out, longer careers and much more money.

  48. deadeye says: Jul 22, 2011 4:33 PM

    “Say good bye to the superior two sport athlete who now will most certainly choose baseball over football.”

    ==============================

    Ok, “goodbye”. And let me add “Good riddance!”

  49. grpatriot says: Jul 22, 2011 4:38 PM

    At least 22 mil, won’t set a team back too long!
    The Wage Scale has been a long time coming…

  50. bearskoolaid1985 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:41 PM

    I still think that nuber is to high and the extra money should go to veterans

  51. unosonnn says: Jul 22, 2011 4:41 PM

    jessieboom says:
    Jul 22, 2011 3:57 PM
    There are only 10 people that are gonna complain about the top 10 draftees makin’ less money.
    ___________________________________

    That’s inaccurate. There will be 20 people complaining about the top 10 making less money. You forgot the agents…. 30 including the lawyers.

  52. dlk81 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:43 PM

    22 million for four years of work without a college degree, sign me up!

  53. rbirving says: Jul 22, 2011 4:46 PM

    This is a win for the league. Now teams that aren’t doing well will actually be able to afford a first round pick. What’s more, the rest of the first round will sign much quicker as the first ten slots are already spelled out and you’re not gonna get a team to shell out more for pick number 11 than pick 10 gets.

  54. icelovinbrotha215 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:55 PM

    Hockey has it right when it comes to the rookie wage scale, or as the NHL terms it ‘entry level contract.’ The only problem is the risk of playing football versus hockey. Either way, the NHL shows rookies that they truly need to earn their way to mega bucks.

  55. panther17 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:57 PM

    glen1904 says: Jul 22, 2011 4:25 PM

    top athletes will do much better to concentrate on baseball or basketball from here on out, longer careers and much more money.

    _____________________________________

    From here on out? When did NFL players make more money then MLB top athletes before this?

  56. jlbay says: Jul 22, 2011 4:57 PM

    This is the right move . . . if the top ten pick is half the player they should be then their team will re-negotiate the deal before the 3rd year runs out . . . thereby securing a truly deserving top ten talent for much longer than the remaining 2 years.

    The money that was being thrown at top ten picks was just ridiculous . . . a 2nd rounder who was clearly outperforming the top ten guy has to wait 4 years to get his payday.

    $22M is probably still way to high, but both sides knew they could only bite off so much of this major pie hole filler.

  57. dafranchize says: Jul 22, 2011 4:58 PM

    glen1904 says:
    Jul 22, 2011 4:25 PM
    top athletes will do much better to concentrate on baseball or basketball from here on out, longer careers and much more money

    _________________________________

    Actually, if kids in high school are better at baseball or basketball, 9 out of 10 times the kids will stay with those sports instead of football. Everyone knows that baseball and basketball pays more and players tend to have much longer careers without nearly the wear and tear on the body.

  58. jimmysee says: Jul 22, 2011 5:08 PM

    Are all four years guaranteed?

  59. whatswiththehate says: Jul 22, 2011 5:11 PM

    By the way, I wonder if this deal is a one shot deal or will Andrew Luck be subjected to it also? I also wonder how much Blaine Gabbert is making if Cam is making $22 mill? Or should we only worry about Cam since these sports folks already turned him into a well scorned figure because he went off the draft board first and attended the wrong school.

  60. tv426 says: Jul 22, 2011 5:11 PM

    They shouldn’t get that much. I’ve argued for years that everyone is the 1rd round is essentially the same. They are the first picks for each team. As such, they should all get about the same rookie contracts.

    Because none are proven at the NFL level and 1st round busts abound (especially, it seems, those selected in the Top 10), it would make more sense to pay them all much, much less than this. Let them earn the money.

  61. kcflake says: Jul 22, 2011 5:13 PM

    Cam and his Daddy already made enough at Auburn.

  62. schmitty2 says: Jul 22, 2011 5:21 PM

    Latrell Sprewell would argue that salary is not enough to feed a family

  63. bigwhitey says: Jul 22, 2011 5:30 PM

    Dear NFL,
    Why wasn’t this in place in 2007?
    Sincerely, Al Davis

  64. scrapdawg12 says: Jul 22, 2011 5:32 PM

    22 million is still to much. What has he done in the NFL for 22 million? NOTHING! He should get a base salary of 1 million for his first year. If he plays more than 50% in the first year, then the 2nd year he makes 3 million. Third year 5 million. 4th year 7 million. Then up for a new deal. That’s how they should structure #1 overall picks. Make nothing your first year unless you are top 15 ranked amongst your position or something like that and make a heck of a lot more as you SHOW something!

  65. mdnittlion says: Jul 22, 2011 5:46 PM

    If he can throw at least 5 TD’s a season after a couple of years, when his contract is up and in free agency I know Dan Snyder will bust the bank getting him to DC. So good ahead and make fun if he’s still around in 4 yrs he’ll be playing for the Redskins for about 80-90 Mil easy. Unless the ghost of Vinny Cerrato has finally left the franchise.

  66. espnfeedback says: Jul 22, 2011 5:49 PM

    Your value is whatever the market is willing to pay you!

    BTW..for all of the folks who question the innate intelligence of these athletes as a way to justify your opinion of them not getting their fair market value; keep in mind they are just smart enough and dedicated enough and disciplined enough to get to the point where they can get paid millions per year.

  67. hobartbaker says: Jul 22, 2011 5:55 PM

    Other sports the kids play for pay at a much younger age. Sam Bradford is the same age as Sidney Crosby. I’d venture to say that Crosby has made a lot more money to this point in their respective careers. Sid almost enrolled at Michigan the year he was drafted, but if he had he would only have played one year. Footballers are forced to play three, at least.

  68. dubuquesteelers says: Jul 22, 2011 6:01 PM

    Still way to much should be half of that

  69. espnfeedback says: Jul 22, 2011 6:03 PM

    scrapdawg12 says:
    Jul 22, 2011 5:32 PM
    …”22 million is still to(O) much. What has he done in the NFL for 22 million? NOTHING! He should get a base salary of 1 million for his first year. If he plays more than 50% in the first year, then the 2nd year he makes 3 million. Third year 5 million. 4th year 7 million. Then up for a new deal. That’s how they should structure #1 overall picks. Make nothing your first year unless you are top 15 ranked amongst your position or something like that and make a heck of a lot more as you SHOW something!…….”

    You feel the same scheme would be appropriate for baseball/basketball/hockey??…..CEO’s!? RIGHT!?

    Randomly selecting numbers out of thin air that have no financial context is little more than emotional hysterics. It amazes me that even with the emerging awareness that the average fans have of the lifelong physical and mental toll that this game, that we love so much, has on these men that entertain us; many of us still bemoan them getting their fair market value and guaranteed contracts that every other league has and nearly every CEO in corporate america.

    @ESPNFeedback

  70. tjacks7 says: Jul 22, 2011 6:05 PM

    damn, first player to ever take a pay cut to come to the pros.

  71. tjacks7 says: Jul 22, 2011 6:06 PM

    at least with the new, “never have to practice” CBA, he’ll have plenty of free time to make some extra cash with a 2nd job.

  72. tjacks7 says: Jul 22, 2011 6:07 PM

    if he’s smart, he’ll pocket all that money. no way he lasts 4 seasons and sees any of that new retirement money.

  73. antdam30 says: Jul 22, 2011 6:16 PM

    To say or imply that these guys make too much money simply isn’t fair. They make this money because they are world-class athletes and no one else can do what they are capable of doing.

    If I were the #1 pick I’d be pretty bummed out that I’m going to make $22 million (before taxes) over 4 years when the #1 pick from the prior year is going to make more than double in that period of time. It’s all relative to what your peers make.

    You can’t complain that you’re making $80,000 per year and a pro athlete is making millions. Know why? Because millions of people can do your job, and only a handful can do the pro athlete’s job. Once again, it’s all relative.

  74. hobartbaker says: Jul 22, 2011 6:16 PM

    Sid Crosby, who is just a couple months older than Sam Bradford, has earned 30 million hockey dollars to this point. Both are the pick of their age group in their respective sports. If Bradford plays out his current contract and earns the maximum possible amount of $78 million, he will still be a bit behind Crosby in earnings, 5 years from now. You have to keep it in perspective.

  75. hobartbaker says: Jul 22, 2011 6:19 PM

    …actually, Bradford will probably be A LOT behind Crosby when they are both 27 years old. Barring unforseen circumstance.

  76. deenice810 says: Jul 22, 2011 7:05 PM

    How do they expect him to take care of his family on only 22mil
    over 4 years. Call the FBI this isn’t fair!

  77. realitypolice says: Jul 22, 2011 7:20 PM

    dlk81 says:
    Jul 22, 2011 4:43 PM
    22 million for four years of work without a college degree, sign me up!
    =================

    That’s the point- no one would “sign you up” to be the QB of their football team for 22 dollars, much less 22 million.

    The same reason Sony won’t give you 22m dollars to make a record.

    The same reason a movie studio wouldn’t give you 22m to make a movie.

    The same reason IBM wouldn’t give you 22m to be CEO.

    Because you aren’t capable of doing any of those jobs.

    If Cam Newton is successful, he will reap many millions more than that for the Panthers.

    Even if he’s not, a large portion of that will be recouped through merch and ticket sales.

    That’s why he gets 22 million and you don’t.

  78. goldrush36 says: Jul 22, 2011 7:32 PM

    The difference is Bradford will earn that bread. I hate the fact that the Rams got him, but he will golden if he stays healthy. There’s little evidence to lead me to believe Cam will even earn the $22 mil

  79. skimbell says: Jul 22, 2011 7:59 PM

    Geez, only $5.5 mil per year. I bet that he’d have gotten more if it was known that he can play the game at this level.
    $5.5 mil aint bad scratch for a probationary employee where I come from.

  80. rayguyreturns says: Jul 22, 2011 8:21 PM

    All rookie contracts should be “veteran minimum” contracts with incentive clauses. That way a team will never have to overpay a future bust again.
    Signed,
    GM’s of all teams

  81. freedomispopular says: Jul 22, 2011 8:39 PM

    Still too much.

  82. SpartaChris says: Jul 22, 2011 9:05 PM

    Good. This is much needed reform.

  83. dangonavyboy says: Jul 22, 2011 9:19 PM

    well i hope he saves that money..he should prob talk to big bust russell on how not to loose all his money..we all know how cam is goin to turn out in the nfl…either on the bench cause he is horrible..or out of the league before he gets to try for his second contract..really..who puts all there marbles on the table for a one hit wonder in college..and that my friends is why carolina will be in L.A in the not soo distant future..minus newton..and ron rivera

  84. Soulman45 says: Jul 22, 2011 9:30 PM

    This is my feel good story for to day.

  85. lostsok says: Jul 22, 2011 9:55 PM

    Dang. Poor guy is going to have to take a pay cut…

  86. luponatrix says: Jul 22, 2011 10:17 PM

    Yikes, what a pay cut. At least he already has a laptop.

  87. theytukrjobs says: Jul 22, 2011 10:20 PM

    A guy can eat on 22 mil. Hell, a guy eat pretty good on 22 mil. But how’s he supposed to feed his family, in the even that he has one?

  88. jh500 says: Jul 23, 2011 12:24 AM

    Cams dad will be whispering to his ears “ask for a raise, you deserve it”

  89. youboettcha says: Jul 23, 2011 1:10 AM

    David Carr lasted 5 years in Houston. I think I’m the first one to point that out.

  90. patfan77 says: Jul 23, 2011 8:15 AM

    Oh well he got enough at auburn to make up the difference. Piece of sh**

  91. buckifan4life says: Jul 24, 2011 2:18 PM

    Finally,…some common sense. Rookies should NEVER be paid like they have in the past. A more competitive league should result from this.

    Great move!

  92. whatevnfl says: Jul 24, 2011 2:35 PM

    “There are only 10 people that are gonna complain about the top 10 draftees makin’ less money.”

    Um and their baby mammas…..so more like 27.

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