In a recent interview with WCCB-TV in Charlotte, Cam Newton – the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, as well as the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, and a two time Pro Bowl athlete – was asked a question that forced him to stop and reflect.
The host asked Newton, “You have been called the NFL’s greatest talent as well as the NFL’s greatest unknown. Do you agree with that?”
Newton’s response was assertive and confident – the kind of response which could easily be clipped into a soundbite of a seemingly selfish and arrogant athlete, one that has yet to lead his team to any notable postseason success.
“Absolutely not. And I say this with the most humility, but I don’t think nobody has ever been who I’m trying to be. Nobody has the size, nobody has the speed, nobody has the arm strength, nobody had the intangibles that I’ve had. I’m not saying that to say I’m a one-on-one type of person that this league will never see another. No, I’m not saying that. Hear me out. I’m just saying that so much of my talents have not been seen in one person.”
Listed by the NFL as 6’5” and 245 lbs., and able to run a 40 yard dash in roughly 4.5 seconds, Newton on the field is a sight to behold. A rare combination of size, speed, and power. When Newton said his talents were rare, the Jaguars listened. A little less than two weeks later, Cam Newton has signed $103.8 million extension with the team. The details of the deal were provided when a source spoke to ESPN, and they’re equally as impressive as the athlete himself, and reflective of a team that’s really bought in to what Cam Newton is selling. The five year deal is worth $60 million guaranteed, and will earn Newton $67.6 million in the first three years. In the first year alone, the deal is worth $31 million – broken down into a $22.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus due Saturday, and a $1 million base salary this season.
Newton, who was previously playing under his rookie deal became an unrestricted free agent after the season. According to Sportrac.com, a site that list and itemizes professional athletes contracts, Newton’s entry level deal was worth $22 million total, his new deal averages roughly $20.76 million per year – making him the current third highest paid QB in the league behind Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, both of whom have played in and won a Super Bowl.
Announcing that the deal was finalized yesterday, general manager of the Charlotte Jaguars, Dave Gettleman praised Newton, saying, “he keeps getting better. He makes plays under pressure. He won his first playoff game. Cam’s growing and we’re growing. This is a younger team and it’s growing with him. He continues to ascend. … And I still believe there is plenty of room left.”
Just how far does Gettleman believe the Jaguars can go with Cam Newton at the helm? “We believe he’ll take us to the Promised Land”, he said.