Initial thoughts on how Newton’s deal could impact Wilson

Jun 1, 2015, 12:55 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm
Cam Newton’s extension with the Panthers is reportedly worth more than $100 million over five...
Cam Newton's extension with the Panthers is reportedly worth more than $100 million over five years. (AP)
(AP)

The Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton are closing in on an extension that is reportedly worth more than $100 million over five years, which is of all sorts of interest here with the Seahawks and Russell Wilson working on a new deal of their own.

Here are a few initial thoughts on what Newton’s deal means for Wilson:

Panthers, Cam Newton close on extension

Wilson vs. Newton. The simple analysis is that Wilson deserves a better deal than what Newton is getting from Carolina based on their respective resumes. Wilson has the better regular-season record in three seasons (36-12) than Newton does in four (30-31-1). He has six playoff victories – including a Super Bowl win and another appearance – while Newton has won a single postseason game. And Wilson has statistically been the better passer, posting a QB rating between 95 and 101.2 in his three seasons whereas Newton has been in the 80s every year since he entered the league in 2011. They are both dual-threat quarterbacks who operate in run-first offenses, which makes a side-by-side comparison easier than it would be for, say, Wilson and someone like Andrew Luck.

What are the actual numbers? Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports the deal is expected to be worth more than $100 million over five years, with the extension kicking in beginning in 2016 (Newton is already under contract for 2015 with the team having picked up his fifth-year option). Initially reported contract details can be untrustworthy because they often come from agents who benefit from the deal appearing to be more lucrative than it actually is, and in Newton’s case only the length and total value (and thus the average) have been reported. What’s not known is the amount of fully guaranteed money the deal contains and how much it’s worth over the first three seasons. That will be key in assessing how Newton’s deal will impact Wilson.

Per-year average. For now, the most useful piece of information in Newton’s deal is the per-year average, which is reportedly north of $20 million. That would seem to raise the baseline for Wilson’s deal from the $19.25 million that Ryan Tannehill will make on average – in new money – on his extension with Miami. Then again, Seattle has already offered Wilson an extension worth around $80 million over four years, according to Danny O’Neil, which means the price likely was higher than $20 million a season even before Newton’s extension.

Total value. Wilson will undoubtedly argue for and can reasonably expect a better deal than Newton. But better doesn’t necessarily mean bigger in terms of total value. Consider what Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told 710 ESPN Seattle last week. “Total value sometimes is – especially with quarterbacks in big deals – a little bit of a misnomer because total money presumes that the player is going to make every penny in that deal,” Rodgers said. “As you guys know, and you go down the history and you look at Tony Romo’s deal – Tony Romo has renegotiated his contract almost every year, Ben Roethlisberger just did a renegotiation, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees is probably getting ready to do one at some point. The truth of the matter is that these contracts for quarterbacks, typically you never get to the end.” That comment suggests a willingness to sign a shorter extension (say, four years compared to five) that wouldn’t match the total maximum value of one like Newton’s but would include a higher average and/or more guarantees. The benefit for Wilson is that he could get back to the bargaining table a year earlier, putting him in position to sign another deal that would be relative to what figures to be a growing salary cap.

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Initial thoughts on how Newton’s deal could impact Wilson