Kaepernick sets bar for Newton's next deal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick are often compared on the field because they're both big, mobile players who came into the league together in 2011.

Now the comparisons will begin at the negotiating table.

On Wednesday, Kaepernick received a six-year deal reportedly worth up to $126 million, including a record $61 million guaranteed.

Don't think for a moment that for Newton won't use that for ammunition as they negotiate a long-term deal for the team's franchise quarterback.

Newton is entering the final year of his rookie deal after the Panthers exercised the fifth-year option, guaranteeing the first pick of the 2011 draft $14.87 million in 2015. The Panthers have made it clear they want to negotiate a long-term deal, though that might have to wait until after this season when the team is cap-healthy.

Kaepernick's new deal will average out to around $21 million per year through the 2020 season.

Most of the so-called experts believe Newton will get at least $18 million a year, which would put him in the $108 million category if the Panthers were to give him a six-year deal.

Newton's representatives might argue that their client deserves closer to the Kaepernick money.

Statistically, Newton (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) has a better numbers. He has completed 882 of 1,475 passes (59.8 percent) for 11,299 yards and 64 touchdowns. He also has run for 2,032 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Kaepernick (6-4, 230) has completed 382 of 639 passes (59.8 percent) for 5,046 yards and 31 touchdowns. He has rushed for 937 yards and nine touchdowns.

Where Kaepernick holds the edge is the win-loss column, particularly in the postseason. He is 17-6 as a starter in the regular season, 4-2 in the playoffs and 3-1 on the road in the playoffs. He has taken San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game twice and the Super Bowl once.

Newton is 25-23 and 0-1 in the postseason, with that one loss coming last season to Kaepernick and the 49ers.

But Kaepernick inherited a team that was coming off a trip to the NFC Championship Game when he replaced Alex Smith as the starter in 2012. Newton inherited a 1-15 team and was forced to start from the get-go in his rookie season.

Despite being surrounded by less talent than Kaepernick, Newton set an NFL rookie record for passing yards with 4,051, eclipsing the mark of 3,739 set by Peyton Manning with the Colts in 1998.

Newton also made the Pro Bowl as a rookie and followed it up with another Pro Bowl selection this past season after leading Carolina to a 12-4 record. Kaepernick has yet to make the Pro Bowl.

Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman will surely point to Kaepernick's advantages over Newton, beginning with the playoff record. He also can use the fact that since Kaepernick made his first start in Week 11 of 2012, he is the third highest-rated quarterback with a rating of 69.6.

Only Denver's Manning (83.3) and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (71.3) are higher during that time.

Newton's people may point out that the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner has brought the team prestige beyond the field, from being a finalist for the "Madden 15" cover to being invited to the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Regardless, Newton and Kaepernick will be compared often during upcoming negotiations.

Kaepernick has set the bar high.