Cam Newton will need an extra-special season to make his full $7.5 million

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For plenty of contracts that carry incentives, the details of the incentives don’t become public. When they do, the details often demonstrate how hard it will be to reach the “up to” numbers that reporters throw around nonchalantly and without proper context.

Yes, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton can earn “up to” $7.5 million in 2020. To do that, however, he’ll have to have the kind of season that would put him above the league’s half-billion*-dollar man.

Field Yates of ESPN.com has the full details on the Newton deal. It already was known that he gets a $1.05 million base salary and up to $700,000 in per-game roster bonuses (i.e., he receives $43,750 for every regular-season game for which he’s in uniform).

Newton can earn up to $3.75 million in playing-time incentives, with specific amounts tied to percentages of playing time — and with a kicker at certain levels if the team makes the playoffs.

If Newton plays 13 percent of the offensive snaps (roughly two games), he gets $250,000. At 20 percent (a little over three games), the amount becomes $500,000. At 30 percent (roughly five games), he gets $750,000. The incentive bumps to $1 million at 40-percent playing time (roughly six-and-a-half games), and to $1.25 million at 50 percent.

The playoff kicker applies at 60 percent playing time, where Newton gets $1.5 million plus another $250,000 if the team qualifies for the postseason. At 70 percent, the numbers are $1.75 million and $2.25 million. At 80 percent, he gets $2 million and $3 million.

The maximum playing-time incentive comes from 90-percent playing time (roughly 14.5 games). Newton gets $2.25 million for reaching that level, and another $1.5 million if the Patriots make the playoffs.

The other $2 million in incentives comes from high-level achievement while playing. He gets $500,000 for making it to the Pro Bowl, a $500,000 All-Pro bonus (there’s only one All-Pro quarterback for the entire league), and $250,000 for each playoff win during which he generates at least 50-percent playing time.

Thus, Newton earns $7.5 million this season only if he: (1) suits up for every game; (2) plays at least 90 percent of all offensive snaps; (3) leads the team to the playoffs; (4) qualifies for the Pro Bowl; (5) is named the Associated Press All-Pro quarterback; and (6) wins four playoff games in which he takes at least 50 percent of the snaps. In other words, the Patriots will have to win the Super Bowl (without earning a bye), Newton will have to be extremely durable, and he’ll have to play so well that he becomes the AP All-Pro, over quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, etc.

If all of that happens, the Patriots will have gotten the best return on their investment in the history of sports — and then they’d have the ability to apply the franchise tag to keep him around in 2021 for a lot less than what he’d get on the open market after checking the six boxes listed above.

37 responses to “Cam Newton will need an extra-special season to make his full $7.5 million

  1. OK? Did he have a better offer? If it he didn’t then he was paid market value and people should shut up about it

  2. Bill with that gosh darn Jedi mind trick again. Hadn’t used it since locking onto Russell Wilson in the SB.

  3. Donna Martin Graduates says:
    July 9, 2020 at 12:24 pm
    2015 was a long long time ago

    2018 wasn’t though
    He was playing well under N Turner for the first 11 games before the injury

    Not sure why people just keep pointing to 2015

  4. What? No head scarf incentives? Once again the Pat’s will be accused of being cheap and not willing to pay for top fashion talent.

  5. Pats get a highly motivated Cam and don’t have to pay him. And l suppose the only reason they’re successful is because they cheat.

  6. Huge Stidham fan here, but I can live with that type of incentive driven contract…. IF Cam canbeat out Jarrett & play lights out then GREAT….. Pats get tolet Stidham learn more behind the scenes & continue his growth with no ware & tear on his body for an additional year or 2 depending on if they franchise Cam & IF Cam does play that good that means the Pats got a real steal for a while & a high 3rd round comp pick when they let him go for Stidham…. & because Stidham will or potentially will have little to no starter experience by the time his rookie contract is up, the Pats can sign him to a 5 year extension at a relatively inexpensive price which in turn would allow them tons of cap space to keep a STRONG TEAM around him for those 5 years……I’m liking this more & more!!!!
    Go Pats!!!!!

  7. LOL…
    N.E. fans will have the loudest emotional THUD the NFL has ever seen,
    CAN’T WAIT…

  8. You people are just jealous of his hair and his style, it doesn’t matter that he can’t play quarterback, he looks cool

  9. kissbillsrings says:
    July 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm
    Huge Stidham fan here
    _____
    Oh….. you’re the one.

  10. Even if CN doesn’t start every game BBcan platoon QBs. An all new offense for the NFL!

    Please let them play.

  11. crush22 says:
    July 9, 2020 at 1:45 pm
    kissbillsrings says:
    July 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm
    Huge Stidham fan here
    _____
    Oh….. you’re the one.
    ——————————-
    Yup, already have his Jersey…….ok with wearing it for up to a couple years before he’s named our starter, but then again, I may not have to wait close to that….He’s not gonna roll over & let Cam take his spot, he’ll have to earn it…. BOG NAMES mean nothing in New England, it’s PERFORMANCE that gets you playing time…. just ask Bledsoe!!!!

  12. What? No head scarf incentives? Once again the Pat’s will be accused of being cheap and not willing to pay for top fashion talent
    _________________________

    Accused? No need, Pats are cheap, that’s well documented.

  13. It does make that huge one year deal the Colts gave Rivers look pretty dumb.

  14. george1859 says:
    July 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    LOL…
    N.E. fans will have the loudest emotional THUD the NFL has ever seen,
    CAN’T WAIT…

    I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

  15. nite2al says:
    July 9, 2020 at 2:51 pm
    What? No head scarf incentives? Once again the Pat’s will be accused of being cheap and not willing to pay for top fashion talent
    _________________________

    Accused? No need, Pats are cheap, that’s well documented.
    ———————————
    You, like so many other SHEEPOLE, confuse money well earned with money well spent….Pats spread the wealth to build a solid TEAM…. others overpay for a name & continue to circle around the drain as they go round in circles till they yet again disappear…. THAT IS REALITY & WELL DOCUMENTED

  16. george1859 says:
    July 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm
    LOL…
    N.E. fans will have the loudest emotional THUD the NFL has ever seen,
    CAN’T WAIT…
    ——————————
    What thud? No one is excited enough to thud because everything is unknown. This is all just one big wait and see yet you are bouncing off the walls over how it might play out for the fans? I think I know who might be emotionally high enough to thud.

  17. Ok so basically without being All-Pro, he still gets 7m to have an average Brady season, doesn’t seem that unfair to me with the Pats expectations.

  18. Why aren’t all players heavily incentivized? Seems like the level of play might get better….

  19. This deal makes tons of sense from the Pat’s side. My concern is, if Cam plays and has success, will he revert back to the Superman Me Me Me Celebrity clown he has been in the past? I doubt BB would tolerate it. Nobody is bigger than the team.

  20. Who cares? He won’t fall on a fumble or pass in college work THAT HE DID. Asking more from this clown is just hysterical.

  21. If Cam is as good as he’s billed to be he should cash out 7.5 and be set for the 2and half of his career. Would be a riches to riches story.

  22. Ouch. I figured that he’d have to work, and he certainly knew the conditions. The real question is what the “reasonable” expectation of the season will pay Newton-that is, say, 16 starts, 3000+ yards, 20+ TDs? He certainly has other incentives, I’m curious what an average season would pay on top of the minimum $550,000.

  23. Cam’s best attribute was his willingness to try to find the smallest defender on the field and run him over, not his quick decision making and accurate throwing.

    The only time he hit 4000 passing yards was 2011 but he did hit 700+ rushing yards in 2018. His career completion rate is 59%. If Cam can’t rush and take hits like he used to, he’s not going to win games with his arm.

    Everyone knows this, which is why he was on the market for so long.

  24. If all of that happens, the Patriots will have gotten the best return on their investment in the history of sports
    —–
    hello. they got that when they stole the HC of NYJ for a 1st and 7th rounder, who promptly drafted the Greatest Football Player in history with a 6th.

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