Why Cam Newton is Worth $100+ Million

Why Cam Newton is Worth $100+ Million
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UPDATED: Contract Forecast: Cam Newton

As rumors build that the Panthers are indeed nearing an extension with their franchise quarterback, we'll take another close look at the current value of Cam Newton by assessing his statistical performance in 2013-14. We'll then compare these figures to quarterbacks of similar age and production to determine and forecast a possible extension this offseason.

Comparable Quarterbacks
To generate a prediction the Spotrac team determined that the following quarterbacks were viable targets to use in comparing with Newton. The key was to locate players with similar numbers, who signed their second contract around Newton's current age (26). Here's a look at the new money for each extension signed by each. To determine a more likely starting point for our numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Guaranteed Age When Signed
Andy Dalton 6 $96,000,000 $16,000,000 $17,000,000 26
Alex Smith 4 $68,000,000 $17,000,000 $45,000,000 30
Colin Kaepernick 6 $114,000,000 $19,000,000 $61,000,000 26
Aaron Rodgers 5 $110,000,000.00 $22,000,000 $54,000,000 28
Averages 5 $97,000,000 $18,500,000.00 $44,250,000.00 27
At 26 years old, Newton remains younger than the majority of our variable quarterbacks. We'll adjust the above contracts up/down to reflect each as if it were signed at the age of 26 to provide a better scope for our base prediction.

Related:  View the list of Top Average Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL
Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
6 $93,900,000 $18,780,000

Passing Statistical Comparisons
We'll first assess Newton as a Passing QB only, comparing him to our variable QBS in terms of Games Played, Passing Yards per Season, Passing Yards per Game, Passing Touchdowns per Seasons, Interceptions per Season, and Completion % per Season.
Player Games/YR Pass YDS/YR Pass YDs/G Pass TDs/G INT/YR Comp %/YR
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 16 3981 298.8 1.875 1.125 62.1
Alex Smith (2012-13, KC) 12.5 2525 202 1.44 0.48 63.5
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 14.5 2506 172.8 1.13 0.38 59.8
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 15.5 4469 288.3 2.7 0.45 67.6
AVERAGES 14.9 3439 238.8 1.78625 0.60875 63.25
Cam Newton (2013-14, CAR) 15 3253 216.9 1.4 0.83 60.2
% Change 2.56% -3.48% -9.80% -21.62% -36.34% -4.82%
MEDIAN PRIME PERCENTAGE: -7.31%
Average PRIME PErcentage: -12.25%
It shouldn't shock anyone that Newton holds up fairly well in terms of passing statistics. He finds the endzone through the air a bit less than our variable QBS, and his interception totals are a bit more - bringing the overall prime figures to negative states. We'll factor both of these figures into our work below.

RushingStatistical Comparisons
Now let's take a look at how these quarterbacks rate in terms of rushing statistics. We'll compare Rushing Attempts per Season, Rushing Yards per Season, Rushing Yards per Attempt, and Rushing Touchdowns per Season.
Player RUSH ATT. RUSH YDS/YR RUSH YDS/ATT RUSH TDS/YR
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 54 152 2.81 3
Alex Smith (2012-13, KC) 53.5 282 5.27 .5
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 78 470 6.02 4.5
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 57 306 5.36 3.5
AVERAGES 60.625 302.5 4.87 2.875
Cam Newton (2013-14, CAR) 107 562 5.30 5.5
% Change 76.49% 85.79% 8.83% 91.30%
MEDIAN PRIME PERCENTAGE: 81.14%
Average PRIME PErcentage: 65.60%

Newton absolutely dominates this comparison. He attempts nearly double the rushses, accounting for nearly 3 times the yardage, and touchdowns with the ball in his hands. While he's fairly inline with our variable quarterbacks in the passing game, he's FAR ahead of them in terms of these statistics


Results

Length of the Contract
At 26 years old, and further instantiating himself as the long-term franchise quarterback solution in Carolina, it's perfectly likely the the Panthers will choose to extend Newton through the age of 30. As most of the recent quarterback extensions are adding 5 new years on, we'll follow suit here.

Value of the Contract
In terms of mathematics, and in the general role of the quarterback position across the league, it doesn't make sense to weigh the passing analysis and the rushing analysis evenly. With that being said, we'll apply our prime pecentages at a 70/30 ratio between the two categories respectively. This means we'll assess Cam at a + 19.22% Median Prime Percentage, and a +11.11% Average Prime Percantage. Our initial base contract provided an average salary of more than $18.7M per year, a figure that would place him 7th among active quarterbacks. When factoring this with our Prime Figures:

Low Value (Hometown Discount)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (11.11%), we're provided with a fairly modest value in terms of overall dollars and annual average:
5 years, $104,322,900 | $20,864,580.00 per year | $48,077,230 guaranteed
High Value
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (19.22%), we've given a slightly bigger forecast:
5 years, $111,947,580 | $22,389,516 per year | $55,361,717 guaranteed

Final Thoughts
The Panthers know they're playing with fire by not extending Newton this offseason (see Flacco, Baltimore, $120.6M). With that being said, a $14.6M 5th year option for 2015 looks like a steal after the numbers we've formulated in this analysis. It isn't imperative that this deal gets done in 2015, but it makes good business sense for the Panthers - especially knowing they can reduce his 2015 cap hit to clear up immediate space should they feel they need it.

When averaging our two values, we're given the following forecast for Cam Newton's potential extension:
Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $108,135,240
Average annual salary $21,627,048, estimated $51,719,473 guaranteed

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