"Nothing about this contract changes my approach to the game," Newton said. "I'm still going to be the person who's willing to win at all costs, but I have to understand what I mean to this team. We always have talks -- coach (Ron) Rivera and I, as well as Mr. (Dave) Gettleman -- about playing smart and being smart when I'm on the field. And I feel like I've done a great job to this point and will be more mindful of the hits that I take when running, and make this process go smoothly."
Newton gets hit more than any other quarterback in the NFL -- he's been hit 578 times since 2011 -- but a huge part of what makes him special is his ability to scramble and keep plays alive.
"He's going to play the way he does, and that's what you expect," coach Ron Rivera said. "In the back of your mind, it's not about the money. Somebody asked me, do you think the money will change him? I said no, he already had money. He had the rookie contract and all the endorsements. It ain't gonna change him.
"But knock on wood with something like that."
Newton threw for 3,127 yards and 18 touchdowns while leading his team to the playoffs last season.
The rumored deal in the works between the
The five-year extension is for $103.8 million with $60 million guaranteed. Newton will earn $67 million in the first three years of the contract.
Newton has not been spectacular statistically, but he has been consistently productive. He has thrown between 18 and 24 touchdown passes in each of his four seasons with Charlotte and has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Newton is scheduled to make more than $14 million this season after the club picked up his fifth-year option, but the new contract, which could be completed as early as Monday, would reportedly pay him nearly $20 million.
Newton has thrown for 82 touchdowns and 54 interceptions in his four-year career, leading the Panthers to the postseason each of the last two seasons.
"I'd like to see him continue to work on his position-specific skills ... his technique, his throwing motion," Rivera said at the NFL owners meeting, per ESPN.com. "He relies so much on his great athleticism that sometimes he's not as sound as he needs to be on his fundamentals.
"That's the next step in being sound in everything he does."
Entering his fifth season, Newton has a career completion percentage of 59.5.
When asked if Newton could have the franchise tag placed on him in 2016, Rivera said he hopes it doesn't come to that.
"Personally, yes I would," Rivera said when asked if he wants the negotiations to wrap up before the season.
"But they have a timetable, both sides do I imagine. Both sides have a plan and hopefully we can all get everything worked out together."
Rivera continued making it clear that he's not worried about Newton's performance on the field if an extension isn't worked out right away.
"I think our quarterback is a smart, savvy young man, understands the dynamics of the game," he said. "I think he's the kind of guy who's able to focus on certain aspects of the game and put things aside. Obviously, that's a work in progress right now."
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