In the expensive world of negotiating franchise quarterback contracts, everything is about comparisons. It's akin to how real estate values are determined in terms of comparable deals.
In the NFL, though, it's about total value, signing bonuses, total guaranteed money and incentive clauses.
Now that the Carolina Panthers have signed quarterback Cam Newton to a $118.466 million contract, The Baltimore Sun has obtained a copy of the deal.
Newton's contract is different from Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl XLVII Most Valuabler Player Joe Flacco's $120.6 million deal in ways beyond total value.
Newton got a $22.5 million signing bonus and the deal averages $20.76 million per year. He got $60 million guaranteed with a $10 million option bonus.
Flacco's deal included a $29 million signing bonus and $51 million guaranteed.
However, Newton's contract includes de-escalator clauses if he fails to live up to workout requirements.
The Ravens have no such language in Flacco's contract.
In 2015, Newton has a $1 million guaranteed base salary and a $13 million salary-cap figure. He makes $31 million in 2015, including a $7.5 million roster bonus paid on June 6.
In 2016, Newton makes $23 million and has a $19.5 million salary-cap figure. He has a $13 million base salary guaranteed for injury only at signing and for skill and cap if he's on the roster on the third day of the 2016 league year. He has a $10 million option bonus in 2016.
The deal has a $500,000 base plus guaranteed money deescalator if Newton fails to complete workouts. The Panthers have the right to supersede the contract with a $10 million signing bonus with all other terms unchanged or the $10 million option bonus deferred or supersede the signing bonus deferral to April 3, 2017 with a $10 million non-exercise fee.
In 2017, Newton is due a $13.166 million base salary and has a $20.166 million salary-cap figure. The base salary is guaranteed for injury only at signing and becomes guaranteed for skill and cap if he's on the roster on the third day of the 2017 league year. It reduces to $6 million if the option/supersede or non-exercise fee is paid. He has a $500,000 workout bonus.
In 2018, Newton has a $21.5 million salary-cap figure and is due a $14.5 million base salary with $2.834 million of it guaranteed for injury only and that voids if the option/supersede/non-exercise fee is paid. He has a $500,000 workout bonus.
In 2019, Newton is due a $16.2 million base salary and has a $23.2 million salary-cap figure. He has a $500,000 workout bonus.
In 2020, Newton has a $18.6 million base salary and a $500,000 workout bonus with a $21.1 million salary-cap figure.
Flacco's contract is expected to be restructured after the third year of the deal following a payout of $62 million in the first three years. Newton has a three-year payout of $67.6 million, which is the highest three-year payout in NFL history.
That's because the Ravens want to reduce high salary-cap figures in 2016 ($28.55 million), in 2017 ($31.15 million cap figure) and 2018 ($24.75 million salary-cap figure).
Besides the $29 million signing bonus, Flacco was paid option bonuses of $15 million and $7 million in 2014 and 2015.
In 2013, Flacco got a fully guaranteed base salary of $1 million for a total first-year compensation of $30 million and a salary-cap figure of $6.8 million.
In 2014, Flacco had a $6 million base salary that's guaranteed for injury only, but that voids once the first option is paid. His salary-cap figure was $14.8 million in the second year of the deal.
In 2015, Flacco was paid a $4 million base salary that's guaranteed for injury only, which voids when the first option is paid. His salary-cap figure is $14.55 million.
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In 2016, the salary cap figure inflates to $28.55 million, primarily due to an $18 million base salary with $12 million of that guaranteed for injury only, although that guaranteed portion reduces to $3 million when the first option of $15 million is exercised, and voids when the second option of $7 million is exercised.
In 2017, Flacco has a $20.6 million base salary.
In 2018, Flacco has a $20 million base salary.
Now, Flacco and his agent, Joe Linta, and Ravens vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty will head back to the negotiating table between now and next season.
How Flacco is paid as an established Super Bowl winner and annual playoff quarterback will be instructive.