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.