Holy moly. I think it's safe to say, without even bothering to look it up, that no MVP in history ever signed a deal like this. Certainly not when he was just 31 years old. I mean, Cam Newton has led his team to a Super Bowl more recently than Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, and has as many MVPs as Patrick Mahomes. But those guys are all living like the Sultan of Brunei and he's signed a deal where he'll basically be working for tips.
We all just assumed that a contract built around the veteran minimum and a bunch of incentives would be, by it's very nature, team-friendly. But this is Team Friendly With Benefits. As in, the only way he maxes out on the $7.5 million is to be the best quarterback in the league (there's just one All Pro QB, obviously) and win the Super Bowl. Needless to say, that would be the best "seven million and 00/100 dollars" Mr. Kraft ever wrote on a check. (I'm sure Newton has direct deposit, but allow me the artistic license).
And as far as those playing time bonuses, they are no gimme. Last year, the Patriots offense took 1,140 total snaps. Doing the math, that means in order to collect the bonuses:
For 13%, he'd need to take 148 snaps. Last year he took 141.
For 50%, he'd need to take 570 snaps. Last year, in a 32 team league, only 29 quarterbacks reached that mark.
For 60%, he'd need to take 684 snaps. Last year only 26 QBs reached that mark.
For 80%, he'd need to take 912 snaps. Last year only 19 QBs reached that mark.
For 90%, he's need to take 1,026 snaps. Last year only 11 QBs reached that mark.
That's an amazingly paltry number. Just 1/3 of teams had a quarterback who achieved it. And if Newton defies the odds to become one of them, he collects $2.25 million, which is about what Mahomes will make in the time it takes me to look all that up.
A former No. 1 overall pick with Newton's curriculum vitae only signs a deal like this if he's driven and highly motivated to the point of obsession to prove that the team that released him and the other 30 that didn't sign him how dead wrong they were. To build a pyramid out of their skulls and put his throne on top of it once more.
And to that end, it looks like he's well on his way to doing just that, diving into the playbook that Julian Edelman told him was "calculus," fueled by caffeine and revenge.
And the best part is that, even if he does hit all of these, the dollars won't count against the cap until next year, when they have one of the biggest cap space numbers in the league:
Even a rip in time like 2020 can't stop Bill Belichick's perpetual motion machine of sustained excellence from firing on all cylinders.