Cam Newton is back on an NFL roster, and he’ll be playing for far more than the veteran minimum.
The contract Newton signed Thursday with the Carolina Panthers is a one-year deal (as in, through the end of this season) worth up to $10 million, according to multiple reports. It includes $4.5 million guaranteed and a $1.5 million roster bonus.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report the contract terms.
This deal, which reunites Newton with the team that drafted him first overall in 2011, was far more lucrative than expected for a player who sat unsigned for 10 weeks. It also validated Newton’s patience, as the 32-year-old quarterback reportedly turned down offers from the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans earlier this season.
The Seahawks “would not have come close” to that value when they were eyeing Newton as a potential short-term replacement for Russell Wilson, per Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
The $4.5 million guaranteed in Newton’s new deal was more than he received in both of his New England Patriots contracts combined. Those included $550,000 guaranteed and $3.5 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac.
Newton replaced Tom Brady as the Patriots’ starting QB last season, starting 15 games for a team that finished 7-9. He struggled as a passer within an offense that lacked high-end weapons but remained a productive rushing threat, totaling 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.
The Patriots re-signed Newton this past offseason, but he lost his starting job and roster spot to first-round rookie Mac Jones and was released during final cuts. Newton’s Panthers contract will grant the Patriots $1.5 million in salary cap relief for the 2022 season, according to cap expert Miguel Benzan.
It’s unclear when Newton will be ready to play for Carolina, but he’ll likely step in as the Panthers’ new starter ahead of P.J. Walker and Matt Barkley. Sam Darnold, who threw three interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Patriots and has ranked as one of the NFL’s worst passers over the past month-plus, has a shoulder injury and is expected to miss the next four to six weeks.
Newton spent his first nine NFL seasons in Carolina, leading the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance and earning NFL MVP honors in 2015.