Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has found a new team: his old one. Newton, who was released by the Patriots in August after serving as the team’s starter in 2020, agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday. He will therefore return to the city he called home between 2011 and 2019.
The former league MVP signing with the Panthers does not only end his 10-week stint as a free agent, it also has a positive impact on the Patriots. The team, after all, will now get a credit on its 2022 salary cap.
How come? As pointed out by salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, Newton’s original deal that he signed with the Patriots in March had an offset clause in it. In basic terms this means that any of the club’s obligations would be reduced if he were to sign a new contract with another team at one point during the season.
In Newton’s case the offset works like this. When he re-signed with the Patriots in March, he received a fully guaranteed $1.5 million base salary. Depending on his new contract with the Panthers that salary would have been subject to the offset, meaning that New England would be able to recoup parts or all of it in 2022.
If Newton had signed a league-minimum deal worth $1.075 million, for example, New England would have received a credit of $537,500 next year (the minimum salary divided by 18 total weeks this season times nine for the remaining weeks left). The maximum amount the team would have been able to get back under the offset, meanwhile, was $1.5 million — depending on whether or not the Panthers signed him to a deal worth at least that.
This is exactly what happened, though. Carolina gave Newton a one-year contract that includes $4.5 million in full guarantees, triggering the offset.
As a result, New England will have $1.5 million more cap space to work with next season.