A few weeks ago many were surprised to hear Cam Newton had signed with the Patriots and not just because of him being such a big name, but also because of their salary cap.
The Patriots had less than $1 million in cap space, so how could they afford the 2015 NFL MVP?
Well, Newton took a one-year, incentive-laden deal worth up to $7.5 million. It has a $1.05 million minimum base salary, $550,000 guaranteed, $3.75 million in playing-time incentives and a maximum value of $7.5 million if the Patriots win the Super Bowl.
It was a steal for the Patriots, which caused some people, including Richard Sherman to get upset. The cornerback called it “disgusting” in a tweet, noting Newton is a former league MVP and how could he be only making the minimum.
Many thought part of the reason why Newton had to take such a small deal was because of the Patriots’ cap space.
Well, at the time.
Since Newton’s deal became official, the Patriots were able to add close to $7 million in cap space thanks to receiving settlements in compensation grievances with Antonio Brown ($4 million) and Aaron Hernandez ($2.55 million).
What if this had happened before the Patriots had signed Newton? There’s no way the quarterback would have been signing for a base salary of $1.05 million. Would it have been $10 million? Of course not, but Newton would likely have received more money than the veteran minimum.
Is that Newton’s fault? Not really, how would he know.
But, shouldn’t his agent have done a little digging, wondering why the Patriots operated all offseason with next to no salary cap space?
It’s pretty clear the Patriots knew they would be getting that credit at some point before the start of training camp. Why else would they have operated all offseason with such little cap space? If Newton’s agent knew this, he could have pushed the signing back until the Patriots got that additional salary cap space and thus likely more money for his client.
While it’s not a huge issue, Newton likely could have received a little more money from the Patriots if his agent had done a little more homework and delayed the signing.