Cam Newton at New York Fashion Week, 2019 (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)
PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

The State of the Cam Newton Brand

The Patriots parted ways with the MVP quarterback Tuesday. But whoever signs him next will be adding one of the most distinctive personal brands in the NFL.

The New England Patriots cut Cam Newton on Tuesday, leaving the veteran quarterback in search of his next role. Newton started the team’s final preseason game on Sunday, completing two passes on five attempts before rookie Mac Jones took over. Now, the 22-year-old Alabama product is Bill Belichick’s starter.

With the 32-year-old Newton suddenly, surprisingly unemployed (for the moment), we have a perfect opportunity to take stock of perhaps the most compelling aspect of his career: his one-of-a-kind personal brand, one that’s been honed through a championship- and Heisman-winning college run and an NFL tenure that saw him hoist a league MVP trophy and play in a Super Bowl.

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Cam Newton’s Career Earnings

Newton signed a one-year deal with the Patriots over the offseason that could have been worth up to $14 million. Despite being cut, he’s still guaranteed $3.6 million from New England thanks to a $1.5 million base salary, $2 million signing bonus, $100,000 workout bonus.

This comes a year after his initial contract with the Patriots, a one-year pact that earned him just over $4 million — no doubt the result of Newton going weeks unsigned following a foot injury that derailed his final season with the Carolina Panthers in 2019.

Cam Newton’s career NFL salary earnings, via Spotrac

That all pales in comparison to what he earned in Carolina. Over his nine seasons with the Panthers, Newton earned an estimated $121,934,521 according to Spotrac. That’s an average of $13.55 million per season, and no less than $15 million per campaign from 2015 to 2019 once his first extension kicked in.

All told, Newton can boast:

  • $125,445,071 in estimated career earnings entering 2021
  • $129,045,071 after he picks up his remaining $3.6 million from the Pats

The latter number ranks No. 24 on the all-time NFL earnings list.

And the Panthers got a ton for their money, namely a Super Bowl 50 appearance against the Broncos. That came in Newton’s 2015 NFL MVP season, during which he threw for 35 touchdowns and had a 99.4 QB rating, both of which were tops in the league.

Newton was a hallmark of consistency with Carolina up until his injury, starting 122 games over eight seasons and earning three Pro Bowl nods. It’s no shock that he cashed such serious checks.

Cam the Fashion Icon

So, what fun is it to make so many millions of dollars if you can’t wear outrageous clothes in public?

Newton made himself something of a fashion icon — sometimes for better, sometimes for worse — with his wild gameday looks in Carolina. In fact, Broncos icon (and Super Bowl 50 rival) Von Miller may be Cam’s only legitimate NFL as it relates to distinctive fits.

Cam at Paris Fashion Week, 2019 (Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

He admitted to spending millions on clothes he would wear just once. Earlier this year, when he spoke about his resolution to spend less on fashion, he simply said:

“It’s an old saying: Swag isn’t on you; it’s in you.”

He’s also had plenty of swag on him, of course, inspiring countless photo galleries and blog posts that drove click counts surely much higher than the lofty price tags on his outfits.

The QB’s Biggest Endorsements

Like his QB predecessor with the Patriots, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., Newton is a prominent Under Armour athlete. He signed with UA as a rookie for over $1 million, which was the most ever for a league debutante at the time.

Since then, he’s launched a signature apparel line under his C1N brand, which includes both lifestyle shoes and cleats. Taking his undisclosed base pay from Under Armour and adding to what his equity in C1N entitles him to from each individual unit sold across the entire line, it’s clear that footwear is a huge money-maker for a man already well established in the NFL’s exclusive $100 million career salary club.

Newton also has a long-standing relationship with Gatorade and has appeared in a host of commercials throughout his pro career.

While Gatorade and football have been natural partners for years, Newton was the most recent quarterback to sign with the brand until Trevor Lawrence did as well earlier in the offseason.

All told, Newton’s endorsements have netted him as much as $12 million a year, with Forbes’ most recent estimate at $5.5 million in 2020.

Cam, Inc.

In addition to endorsements, Newton has embraced an entrepreneurial spirit of his own.

In 2013, he partnered with Belk to launch his own clothing line, MADE by Cam Newton, which covered everything from sportswear to suits. He later opened a cigar lounge and restaurant in Atlanta called Fellaship, which offers authentic southern cuisine, live music, and cigars — all three significant passions for Newton. The restaurant even partnered with Meshika to sell fedoras on its website, in true Newton fashion.

Newton’s production company, Iconic Saga Productions, has been around since 2012, and has claimed several recent successes. Iron Sharpens Iron, which launched on Quibi in 2020, paired professional athletes from different sports to focus on their training regimens.

Then, earlier this year, Iconic Saga Productions launched interview series Sip n Smoke with Cam Newton on BET Digital, which, naturally, combined Newton’s passion for cigars and cocktails. Guests included Steve Harvey and 2 Chainz.

Newton also launched a documentary, Black Dad, on his personal YouTube channel in June. Highlighting his experiences as a father, the film has generated over 105,000 views as of this writing.

To give back, Newton also has his own foundation, which offers community, academic, and athletic support to young people in the Charlotte and Atlanta areas.

Cam Newton’s Value in 2021 (and Beyond)

Going forward, Newton still boasts plenty of value on and off the field. He’s experienced, but not washed-up, and performed well in the preseason, connecting on 14 of 21 passes for 162 yards. He’s not likely to command a contract much bigger than the veteran minimum, which gives him a fine chance to catch on as a backup QB.

Which doesn’t rule out catching on with a contending team.

Off the field, Newton’s name recognition and marketability should continue to carry him no matter what else happens. On social media alone, he has over 6 million followers across channels, including 4.8 Instagram followers, 1.1 million Twitter followers, and 482,000 YouTube subscribers. Even if he’s taking fewer snaps this year, Newton will still keep plenty busy as he continues to grow his brand beyond the limits of an NFL career.

He knows it as well, taking to Instagram Tuesday afternoon to tell fans he’s going to be just fine.

And if you’ve ever clued yourself in