In a move that was all but a formality, the Carolina Panthers have exercised the fifth-year option on quarterback Cam Newton and will make nearly $15 million, according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer.
Newton was the No. 1 pick out of Auburn where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to an undefeated season and the National Championship with their win over the Oregon Ducks.
Newton’s rookie season began with a bang with back-t0-back 400-yard performances and in his third year led the Panthers to the NFC South title and a first round bye in the NFC playoffs, but their season came to an end vs. the San Francisco 49ers in their first game.
Newton is unquestionably the face of the franchise now that Steve Smith was released and will be counted on being the leader of the offense and the team into the future as the two parties are likely to work out a long-term extension before the start of the 2015 season.