The Carolina Panthers are closing in on a deal that would pay quarterback Cam Newton around $20 million a year while keeping him in Charlotte through 2020. While those numbers are a bit high, here are three reasons why it's a great move for the Panthers:
3) Ability to create plays out of nothing
Cam Newton is a pure rushing threat every time the ball is snapped, but it’s his ability to prolong plays both in and out of the pocket — thanks to his size and his wheels — which help him both pad his stats and make meaningful, big-play connections with his skill-position players. That playmaking ability makes up for a lot of the deficiencies in Carolina's offense.
Many detractors will point to Newton's down year statistically in 2014, but it was his strongest in a career full of playing his best when his team needs it most. He's posted a 14-4 record in games played in December and January - the last quarter of the regular season and the playoffs - during his four-year career, and that quality is the biggest reason why the Panthers have won the NFC South two straight seasons.
As good of a player as Cam Newton is, many think he's not the same type of player as Matt Ryan or Drew Brees, both of whom have similar contracts. You can argue he may not be worth over $100 million, but it's worth that much for the Panthers to keep one of the league's better quarterbacks instead of signing a journeyman to play the position.
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