New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 03: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots signals at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter of a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on January 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

If you were as flabbergasted as everyone else that the Cam Newton deal with the Patriots is for $14 million, take a deep breath. It sounds unlikely he’ll see every dollar.

As reported by Jeff Howe on Friday, Newton’s new deal with the Patriots is “heavy on incentives.” He will only get to $14 million if “everything goes perfectly.” That’s an indication that the incentives are tied to passing stats or playing time. Incentives are typically split into two categories: likely and not likely to be earned. The latter incentives would count against the following season’s salary cap if they are earned.

(UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, a total of $6 million is “tied to honors and how far the Patriots might advance in the playoffs.” So if Newton wins league MVP and the Patriots make a deep playoff run, you’ll gladly pay that money. But these are probably among the incentives designated as “not likely to be earned.”)

Ultimately, it appears that the $14 million price tag amounts to not much more than sticker shock. But Newton still looks likely to make more money in 2021 than he did in 2020, which is a curious move for a quarterback who threw only eight touchdown passes in 15 starts last season.

The hope is that, if Newton can’t turn it around on the field, that he’s a powerful recruiting tool for free agents and continues to be the same great teammate and locker room leader that he was in 2020. Brian Hoyer is set to become a free agent. So if Newton is the new Hoyer, that’s an upgrade in that role.

We’ll keep you updated on everything relating to the Cam Newton deal and the Patriots’ offseason plans right here at

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at