New England Patriots

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On Friday morning, the Patriots re-signed Cam Newton to what was reported as a one-year, $14 million contract. The details behind that contract are being reported, and they might make some Patriots fans questioning the deal feel better.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the contract has a $5 million base salary, with the remaining $9 million contingent on incentives. Newton will cost just over $4.9 million against the salary cap in 2021, per PatsCap.

The base portion of the deal includes a $1.5 million base salary, and a $2 million signing bonus.  There’s another $1.5 million in per-game roster bonuses, something the Patriots regularly include in contracts. These are what are called ‘likely to be earned’ incentives – or LTBE – and count against the 2021 cap. If Newton doesn’t meet the conditions for the per-game roster bonuses, the Patriots will be refunded the money on the 2022 cap.

As for the remaining $9 million, that’s all in ‘not likely to be earned’ incentives – or NLTBE. They include extra money for a postseason appearance and wins, as well as individual accolades for Newton such as Pro Bowl, All-Pro, and MVP recognition. As NLTBE incentives, these do not count against the 2021 salary cap. If Newton reaches these benchmarks, they’ll be deducted from the Patriots 2022 cap number.

Basically, if the Patriots do end up paying Newton close to the originally reported $14 million number, it’s because he won the Super Bowl as an MVP quarterback – in which case the deal is a total steal for New England. But as things stand right now, the agreement is a small bite out of the Patriots $68 million in cap space, which is the third most in the league. They still have plenty of financial room to add to the roster, including at the quarterback position.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at