They’re black. They’re rich. They win. They’re confident and they are the two of the elite quarterbacks in the game. This offseason Cam Newton and Russell Wilson got paid in full, becoming the benefactors of a fresh, progressive NFL matrix where brothers get paid equal wages for equal work.
Newton's contract will eventually put him in the company of the Saints' Drew Brees as a quarterback with a $20 million average annual salary. Other quarterbacks with $20 million per year deals are the Packers' Aaron Rodgers, Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, Falcons' Matt Ryan and Ravens' Joe Flacco.
After much riffing and kicking Seattle inked a four-year, $87.6 million contract extension, $60 million of that guaranteed, with the Wilson, that included a mega $31 million signing bonus.
The two QBs met for the first time since breaking the bank. It was also their first meeting since Wilson rode a ferocious Seahawks defense to a dominating 31-17 win over Newton’s Carolina Panthers to advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Equal wages for equal work. Well Cam is giving opposing NFL squads more of that work this season. While Wilson’s overall stats may present itself a shade better, his team is 2-4 and he’s been unable to elevate his game to bail out a Seattle defense that pales in comparison to the unit that won a Super Bowl two seasons ago.
On Sunday, Cam’s 26-yard clutch TD pass to tight end Greg Olsen -- Cam’s only reliable passing option -- capped a late comeback for the Panthers, giving them the lead and a 27-23 win with just 32 seconds remaining. As this 2015 season progresses, it’s clear that while their salaries may be equal in stature, Newton is distinguishing himself as the potential NFL MVP.
In true G fashion, Newton shrugged off a first-quarter pick by Earl Thomas and a second half pick by Kam Chancellor to ignite three consecutive 80-yard touchdown drives at the end of the game to overtake Seattle. Jonathan Stewart finished off two of the drives with 1-yard TD plunges.
It was typical Cam, in a season where the Panthers remain undefeated at 5-0 and game-by-game, are earning the respect of the NFL’s top teams. It’s hard to envision Newton and the Panthers having enough offensive weapons to hang with the supreme point-producing squads in the NFL. After all they are still rank 28th out of 32 squads in total offense. If not for the run game, ranked third in the NFL (132.8) Carolina wouldn’t have a pulse offensively -- outside of Cam. Defense is the name of the game for Carolina who ranks 7th in the league. It’s a formula that Wilson is all too familiar with, but Seattle is obviously still reeling from that inexplicable Super Bowl loss in February (last place in NFC West).
Wilson got all of the shine the past few seasons. He got the credit for all of the late-game drives initiated by huge defensive plays. He had playmakers on his squad. Not many, but just enough to put up some numbers if necessary. What Cam is accomplishing is admirable. He’s more efficient in his passing and is more willing to let the game come to him. He knows Carolina needs him to be Superman, but even the man of steel had a weakness. Cam’s is a lack of offensive weapons.
It’s been the same song with Carolina for the past few seasons. Injuries have also played a part and Carolina can’t get a consistent band of brothers together. So in the meantime, Cam has to keep playing magnificently late in games, while developing some unexpected contributors on offense. One day, it's going to all come together.
At least he’s on the right path. Wilson seems to be backtracking like he’s facing the ‘86 Giants D. Wilson received heaps of praise since entering the league and despite Cam putting up record-breaking numbers in his young career, he hasn't been able to figure out how to sink Seattle.
Before Sunday's thrilling victory, Newton had been 0-3 against the Seahawks, with just 437 yards and 1 touchdown in three starts. He rebounded on Sunday to finish the game 20 of 36 for 269 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Is it possible Seattle has peaked ? They definitely need a reload. Cam is maximizing what he has and that’s the sign of a true QB stud. You can see him getting better everyday. Wilson is happy in love with Ciara but he can’t be loving his game or his team’s play right now. He hasn’t played poorly. He just hasn’t produced the magic of his legendary past.
Wilson’s never had gaudy passing numbers. Cam is the guy who threw for a rookie record 4,051 passing yards in 2011, but Wilson is the dude who went from third-round maybe to Super Bowl baby. Wilson fans always told us to ignore the numbers, watch the player and tally the victories. Well, those victories aren’t adding up this season, so we have to assume Russ isn’t doing his job. The same can’t be said for Newton, however, because he’s earning that paper and has unblemished Carolina looking like championship material.