Cam Newton Must Win A Super Bowl To Prove He's Worth A $100 Million Contract
Does Cam Newton deserve his new contract? Maybe he does, and maybe he doesn't.
SuperCam got his five-year, $103.8 million extension earlier this week, and you've got to believe the money coming in from that contract is going to motivate him to play up to his worth.
Some will argue his production up to this point doesn't necessarily match the terms of his contract.
But, NFL quarterback contracts don't always act as rewards for great performances.
Many of them act as investments toward the proverbial "Promised Land" that is the Super Bowl.
Resigning Newton long-term was one of the smartest decisions the Panthers could have made, and it was also the only one.
This year's NFL Draft wasn't quarterback-heavy by any means. So, the Panthers were wise not to take a risk drafting a QB.
With other young QBs, like Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton, signing big deals last year, and, more recently, Ryan Tannehill agreeing to a max-deal, it's time Newton gets his money for his hard work.
Frankly, Newton's individual statistics since entering the league — while they can't speak for the success of the team, with only one playoff win in the last four seasons — are pretty impressive.
He was the first rookie QB ever to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 700 yards in a season.
No quarterback in the Super Bowl era has ever beaten Newton's 2,571 rushing yards through his first four seasons, and his 115 total touchdowns is the third highest total for a QB through his first four seasons.
The only two QBs with more touchdowns through their first four seasons? Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.
With stats like that, the question isn't "Is Cam worth $100 million?" Instead, the question should be "Can the Panthers do any better than Cam?"
They certainly wouldn't want to revert to the pre-Cam-Newton era. Looking at 2010 (the year before Newton was drafted) side by side with 2011, you can tell Newton made a noticeable difference in the offense.
ESPN widely regards Newton as an extremely talented QB when he's healthy.
His supporting cast, like Newton himself, hasn't been 100 percent healthy for the past few years. It's safe to say if the Panthers become more durable, they will become a scary team.
Newton and the rest of the skilled players on offense don't seem to be the problem for the Panthers' shortcomings.
For a while, the offensive line has been the focal point of improvement for the team. Protecting that $100 million investment has to be their priority.
Newton was getting sacked almost three times a game last year, and he's averaged about 38 sacks a year since he entered the league. This is likely the reason he's getting hurt so much.
Their 8-7-1 record last year won them the division in a subpar NFC South last year, which isn't saying much.
Newton, being a former Heisman winner and College National Champion, certainly isn't content with that. He wants to improve his own performance and get his team further in the playoffs.
...That's where the money from this contract comes into effect.
With Newton locked in for the foreseeable future, the Panthers can build around their franchise guy without having to worry about him going anywhere.
The organization knows he can perform with the right teammates. The pressure seems to fall more on management to pick the right guys for Newton than it does on him to perform.
Newton's contract also makes a statement for quarterbacks throughout the league, like Russell Wilson, who are pressuring teams to sign them to big deals.
Watch out for the Panthers in the coming years. Newton's here to stay.