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Carolina Panthers to pick up option on Cam Newton

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Detroit Lionsdon't plan to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Nick Fairley, but the Carolina Panthers are choosing to do exactly that with quarterback Cam Newton.

"Yes," general manager Dave Gettleman said Tuesday when asked if Carolina would add a fifth season to Newton's deal, per "Yes, that's a fair statement."

It's a move that will allow the team plenty of time to hammer out a long-term extension for the former first overall pick, while earning Newton a fat paycheck in the process.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Newton -- as a top 10 pick from 2011 -- would earn the average of the NFL's 10 highest-paid players at his position in 2015. ESPN listed that number at $13.7 million, a figure bound to rise.

We wouldn't be surprised to see the Panthers reach a long-term deal with Newton before Gettleman is forced to go down this road.

Newton has expressed a desire to stay with the team and avoid a holdout. If there's a holdup, though, this option, at worst, prevents Ace Boogie from hitting the open market next March.

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