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Contract Forecast: Cam Newton

Contract Forecast: Cam Newton USA Today Sports | Sam Sharpe
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UPDATED: Contract Forecast: Cam Newton

Back in November of 2013 our premium team compiled a thorough analysis of QB Cam Newton with the expectation that a long-term deal with the Carolina Panthers would be in his cards this offseason. But as quarterbacks around him are being rewarded with major pay days, including sizeable chunks of guaranteed money, continues to wait for this turn - and has marketdly added to his resume while doing so.

As a first round draft pick, the Panthers exercised the 5th-year option for Newton's 2015 season (valued at $14.6M). But Newton's multi-threat skillset combined with an impressive season both statistically and in the win column in 2013 hands Newton a pile of leverage heading into the 2014 season.

To compensate for Newton's total statistical package, we'll revise the protypical statistics used in our quarterbacks analysis to include Rushing Attempts, Rushing Yards per Season, Rishing Yards per Game, and Rushing TDs per season.

We'll assess Newton's statistical performance in 2012-13 and compare them 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 (25). 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
Joe Flacco 6 $120,600,000 $20,100,000 $29,000,000.00 27
Aaron Rodgers 4 $110,000,000.00 $20,000,000 $20,000,000.00 30
Colin Kaepernick 6 $114,000,000 $19,000,000 $61,000,000 26
Alex Smith 4 $68,000,000 $17,000,000 $45,000,000 30
Andy Dalton 6 $96,000,000 $16,000,00 $17,000,000 26
Averages 5 $97,000,000 $18,500,000.00 $44,250,000.00 27
At 25 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 25 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 $112,920,000 $18,820,000

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/YR INT/YR Comp %/YR
Andy Dalton (2012-13, CIN) 16 3981 298.8 30 318 62.1
Alex Smith (2012-13, KC) 12.5 2525 202 18 6 63.5
Colin Kaepernick (2012-13, SF) 14.5 2506 172.8 16.5 5.5 59.8
Aaron Rodgers (2011-12, GB) 15.5 4469 288.3 42 7 67.6
Joe Flacco (2011-12, BAL) 16 3714 232.1 21 11 58.6
AVERAGES 14.9 3439 238.8 25.5 9.5 62.32
Cam Newton (2012-13, CAR) 16 3624 226.5 22.5 12.5 59.7
% Change 7.38% 5.38% -5.15% -11.76% -31.58% -4.20%
MEDIAN PRIME PERCENTAGE: -4.68%
Average PRIME PErcentage: -6.66%
It shouldn't shock anyone that Newton holds up remarkably 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
Joe Flacco (2011-12, BAL) 36.5 55 1.5 2
AVERAGES 55.8 253 4.19 2.7
Cam Newton (2012-13, CAR) 119 663 4.53 7
% Change 113.26% 162.06% 8.02% 159.26%
MEDIAN PRIME PERCENTAGE: 136.26%
Average PRIME PErcentage: 110.65%

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 25 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 6 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 + 36.9 Median Prime Percentage, and a +27.235 Average Prime Percantage. Our initial base contract provided an average salary of more than $18.8M 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 (27.235%), we're provided with a fairly modest value in terms of overall dollars and annual average:
6 years, $143,600,000 | $23,933,333 per year | $66,0056,000 guaranteed
High Value
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (51%), we're provided with the largest contract in NFL cornerback history in terms of overall dollars and annual average:
6 years, $154,000,000 | $25,666,666 per year | $70,800,000 guaranteed


Final Thoughts
The Panthers know they're playing with fire by next 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. With team salary caps expected to rise more in 2015 and 2016, a $24M per year quarterbacks certainly isn't out of the question - even if right now it seems ridiculous. With players like Greg Hardy (2015) and Luke Kuechly (2016) in need of contracts sooner than later, the front office in Carolina certainly has a tough decision to make with their franchise quarterback going forward. Should they attempt to wait things out until the 2016 offseason, a holdout next season might be in the cards.

Spotrac's Prediction: 6 years, $148,800,000
Average annual salary $24,800,000, estimated $68,428,000 guaranteed

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