The highest-paid player in the Carolina Panthers' 21-year history is also one of the most dynamic athletes in the NFL. His combination of size, speed and power makes him a monster for defenders to corral inside and outside the pocket.
After inking his new deal, Newton insisted the money won't change how he plays. He'll still scramble and put his head down to earn the tough yard when needed.
"Nothing about this contract changes my approach to the game," he said, via The Charlotte Observer. "It's still going to be the person who's willing to win at all costs, but I have to understand what I mean to this team. We always have talks -- coach (Ron) Rivera and I, as well as Mr. (Dave) Gettleman -- about playing smart and being smart when I'm on the field. And I feel like I've done a great job to this point and will be more mindful of the hits that I take when running, and make this process go smoothly."
Newton takes a beating more than another quarterback in the NFL. Per ESPN STATS, Newton has been hit 578 times since 2011, 270 more than the next closest quarterback. A combination of a porous offensive line and quarterback scrambles helped compile that astronomical number
While Newton is built like a flesh version of RoboCop, he's not impervious to injury. Just last year he dealt with ankle and rib injuries before hurting his back in a rollover car accident.
Per NFL Media's Albert Breer, Newton will earn $31 million in 2015 -- $22.5 million signing bonus, $7.5 million roster bonus (due later this week) and $1 million base salary. The deal guarantees $31 million with $60 million guaranteed for injury (which becomes fully guaranteed in March 2017). The five-year, $103.8 million deal averages to approximately $20.76 million per year, which is roughly equal to Matt Ryan's deal.
Even after handing Newton all that scratch, the Panthers don't plan to alter their offense or curtail how the quarterback plays.
"He's going to play the way he does, and that's what you expect," coach Ron Rivera said. "In the back of your mind, it's not about the money. Somebody asked me, do you think the money will change him? I said no, he already had money. He had the rookie contract and all the endorsements. It ain't gonna change him.
"But knock on wood with something like that."
Relying on wood knocking isn't the optimal preventative strategy, but restraining a playmaker like Newton would be even more foolish for a franchise that paid $100 million because of his dynamic ability.