Inside the Panthers

Andrew Luck’s megadeal makes Cam Newton’s look like bargain

Forbes recently ranked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton the seventh-richest athlete in the world.
Forbes recently ranked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton the seventh-richest athlete in the world. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman spent a lot of Jerry Richardson's millions last June to sign quarterback Cam Newton to a five-year extension.

It's tough to call $60 million in guaranteed money a bargain, but that seems to aptly describe Newton's deal in light of the mega-contract Colts quarterback Andrew Luck signed Wednesday.

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted the framework of the deal: "$140 Million over 6 Years... Biggest Contract in NFL History... Congrats to #12!!!"

Pro Football Talk reported Luck will receive $60 million in guaranteed in the first year of the deal, with $87 million guaranteed for injury over the length of the deal.

Newton and Luck have been linked since 2011, when Luck's decision to return to Stanford locked Newton in as the No. 1 overall pick.

Newton and Luck became the first two No. 1 picks under the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, which included a rookie wage scale and did away with the huge contracts received by former top picks Sam Bradford and JaMarcus Russell.

But the two Pro Bowlers cashed in following their fourth seasons. And barring injury, both will make even more money when their current deals are torn up and redone in another three years or so.

Newton made his five-year, $103.8 million extension look like money very well spent by running away with MVP honors last season and leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

Newton, 27, is set to make $13 million in 2016, with a salary cap charge of $19.5 million.

That cap hit jumps to $23.2 million in 2019, although the Panthers likely will restructure the deal before then.

While Luck topped every NFL contract in history Wednesday, shed no tears for Newton.

Forbes recently ranked Newton the seventh-richest athlete in the world, with his salary, signing bonus and endorsement deals with companies such as Gatorade, Under Armour, Dannon and Beats by Dre pushing Newton to $53.1 million in total earnings last year.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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