Cam Newton has been one of the NFL's least productive starting quarterbacks this season. The silver lining for the New England Patriots? They're paying him like one of the NFL's least productive starting quarterbacks.
Newton signed a one-year contract with the Patriots in July on a base salary of just $1.05 million, making him the league's 50th-highest-paid QB behind the likes of Nate Sudfeld, Matt Barkley and Matt Schaub.
But if you'll recall, Newton's contract included several incentives that allowed him to earn a maximum of $7.5 million this season.
So, how close will Newton come to earning that full $7.5 million? First, here's a refresher on Newton's incentives, courtesy of ESPN's Field Yates:
And here's a breakdown of where Newton stands on each of his incentives:
Per-game roster bonuses: Newton missed the Patriots' Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs while on the COVID-19/reserve list. But assuming he's active for the final three games, he'll earn a total of $656,250 in per-game roster bonuses by playing in 15 of 16 games in 2020.
Playing-time incentives: Newton has played 85.96% of the Patriots' offensive snaps through Week 14. If he takes every snap over the next three weeks, there's a chance he could hit the 90% threshold, but if Jarrett Stidham sees any time at all, Newton likely will earn a $2 million bonus.
Considering the Patriots have less than a 10% chance of making the playoffs, it doesn't look like that number will bump up to $3 million.
Pro Bowl bonus: No chance at this one.
All-Pro bonus: Are negative chances a thing?
Playoff win: The 6-7 Patriots need to win out and get tons of help to reach the postseason, so it's likely Newton comes up empty here, too.
After some advanced iPhone calculations, our prediction for Newton's 2020 salary is $3,706,250.
If the Patriots somehow make the playoffs, Newton could earn north of $5 million. But it's looking like he'll net south of $4 million, which from New England's perspective is a very reasonable number for a QB the team took a chance on this July.
Newton may command more money in 2021 free agency, so the Patriots will have to decide whether to pay up for another season of the soon-to-be 32-year-old or look elsewhere for a QB in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft.