Adam Schefter of ESPN notes that the deal includes $60 million guaranteed and will pay out $67.6 million in over the first three seasons, which is the most money paid to a player in a three-year span in NFL history.
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After reportedly making little progress in contract talks last month, the Panthers must have decided that they would rather make an aggressive offer now than allow Newton to play out the final year of his rookie contract and potentially have a breakout season. If that had happened, Newton would have been content to wait until Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson signed their new deals and tried to get something comparable.
Newton has a career record of 30-31-1 and is 1-2 in the postseason. There will be plenty of people who feel he has done nothing to earn that type of money, but the market for quarterbacks in the NFL is astronomically high. For evidence of that, look no further than the money guys like Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton and Ryan Tannehill are making.
Newton is just 26 and battled injuries last season, some of which were the result of a freak car accident. The Panthers are hoping his best years are ahead of him, and $60 million guaranteed certainly reflects that.