It has been a good season for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The 26-year–old has guided his team to a 15-1 record and has them poised and ready to win Carolina's first Super Bowl championship. However, the good times started long before the season began.
During the off-season, the Panthers made him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL when the signed him to a five-year, $103.8 million contract extension. He is still playing under his rookie contract, so his base is only $1 million, but when combined with his signing bonus and roster bonus he is making $31 million this season from the Panthers.
So money should not be an issue for him unless he has quite a few closets full of $850 Versace pants like the ones he wore on the plane from Charlotte to California—but he has actually made a lot more. Prior to the NFC Championship game, he had made $10 million from endorsements this season tying him with Drew Brees for No. 2 on the NFL's list of highest paid pitchmen.
However, after destroying the Arizona Cardinals to earn a trip to the Super Bowl, he earned another $1 million from his endorsement deals moving him into the No. 2 slot all by himself.
His agent didn't day say how or from whom, but winning the NFC Championship and earning a trip to the Super Bowl must have triggered an incentive clause in one or more of his endorsement deals. Much like teams will include incentives in player contracts, companies will do the same since the bigger stage certainly gives their product more exposure.
Peyton Manning isn't earning as much as Newton this season ($17.5 million from Broncos; $12 million in endorsements), but like Newton, he earned a little more money for guiding the Broncos to a win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship. The victory triggered a $2 million incentive clause that was added to his contract after he agreed to take a pay cut during the off-season.
Should he guide the Broncos to victory over the Panthers, he will trigger another incentive clause and earn an additional $2 million.
Newton's agent did not say which company or companies offered the incentives, or if there will be one for winning the Super Bowl or league MVP, but if there isn't, chances are good he will be fielding a few more offers during the off-season.
"Cam's impact on and off the field makes him the face of the NFL at the most premium position, and he deserves to be paid like it," said Scott Becher, managing director of Z Sports & Entertainment.
Should Peyton Manning retire as expected, Newton will become the highest paid pitchman in the NFL. With a Super Bowl win and league MVP under his belt, his total endorsement earnings will undoubtedly grow significantly higher.