But after that season wherein he won league MVP honors and led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl, his career just went south.
He suffered a concussion in 2016 which caused him to miss a game.
Worse, the Panthers went from 15-1 the previous season to 6-10.
In 2017, he had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder.
Injuries like these limit a quarterback in his main responsibility: throwing the ball.
No wonder Newton suffered injury-plagued campaigns in 2018 and 2019.
Most teams in the league were writing him off which is a sad twist of fate for one of the NFL’s most explosive players.
However, the New England Patriots became his saving grace and signed him to a one-year contract for $1.75 million in 2020.
It was a far cry from the five-year, $103.8 million deal he agreed to in 2015.
But for him, it was to prove that he still has what it takes to be in the league.
Cam Newton has been SLINGING it at Pats camp 🎯
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 10, 2021
If he does well, he can also command a bigger deal from the Patriots or another NFL team.
To give him some consolation, he played for a Patriots unit that was a shadow of the teams that constantly won division titles.
The talent level, especially in the receiving unit, was not at par even with the rest of the AFC East.
Still, he managed to lead the Patriots to a 7-8 record and finish with 2,657 passing yards to go with eight touchdowns.
This production convinced the Patriots to give him a one-year, $5.1 million deal for the 2021 season.
But after this year, his NFL checks might come to an end.
Superman Cam Or Scam?
Contract negotiations boil down to several measurable factors.
Wins pull a significant weight over the next contract.
The salary may go up if a player contributed to more victories.
Individual stats also play a major role in finalizing the annual value of the new contract.
Incentives and bonuses can be specified later.
— Morey Hershgordon (@MHershgordon) August 12, 2021
Aside from wins and stats, a third consideration comes into play: potential.
Can the player maintain or surpass his performance from the previous year?
This is where younger quarterbacks have the upper hand.
They may have numbers that are comparable to some veterans, but their upside makes them more valuable commodities.
It’s important to point out the third aspect because Newton’s numbers are comparable to Lamar Jackson’s.
The former had 2,657 yards while the latter had 2,757.
But that’s where the comparison ends because Jackson is way younger than Newton.
One may even argue that Jackson is what Newton was years ago.
The versatility of the Baltimore Ravens starting quarterback makes him a hot commodity.
In contrast, that could be Newton’s ceiling as his career progresses.
He may be able to hit 3,000 yards, but that’s not a significant improvement unless he brings the Patriots to the playoffs.
When that happens, he can command slightly more money.
As of now, however, the odds are not stacked in his favor.
Despite the haul of talent that they added this year, the Patriots are still a few players away to contend with the Buffalo Bills.
Likewise, the possibility of rookie quarterback Mac Jones taking over looms with every bad performance.
"He's smaller than I thought … That's a joke!"
Cam Newton couldn't help but joke after his first encounter with Chase Young 😅 pic.twitter.com/WyOP6PLJ7D
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 13, 2021
Factoring these realities, the Patriots can give him a contract extension of two years for three million.
In simpler terms, that’s the amount of money for a backup quarterback.
With the way Jones carried himself throughout his first preseason game, Newton’s position at the top is numbered.
He can opt to return as a backup and be a mentor to Jones.
Unfortunately, that will entail a pay cut.