Of course there will be a ton more pressure on Cam Newton to improve and win some big games for the Carolina Panthers. But the pressure is also ramped up on Panthers general manager Dave Gettlemen and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
On Tuesday, Cam got a 5 year $103.8 million extension with $60 million guaranteed. Cam is currently one of the top 3 paid QB in the NFL. Every year, he is going to take up a lot of the Panthers salary cap. A fact the front office and coaching staff know they have to deal with until 2020.
This makes every free agent pick up and draft pick very important. There won't be a lot of money to waste when it comes to signing talent.
If you are a fan of the Panthers, there is optimism that this front office has what it takes to make this work. Just look at the track record of Gettleman since he was hired in 2013.
His 1st free agent class brought in the likes of Ted Ginn, Mike Mitchell. and Chase Blackburn. All played key roles in the Panthers run to the NFC South division title. Throw in his draft class of Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short, and A.J. Klein who are all either starters or key reserves for this team.
In 2014, free agents Jerricho Cotchery and Roman Harper were key players in the 2nd run to the NFC South title. But it was the draft class that paid the most dividends as they got Kelvin Benjamin, Trai Turner, Tre Boston, Kony Ealy and Bene Benwikere.
That is the potential for 9 future starters in his first 2 drafts as a GM.
You also have to give coach Ron Rivera and his staff credit for developing the talent and having the courage to trust the young guys to go out and produce.
So while some may panic because Cam will eat up a lot of salary cap space the next few years, look at what the front office and coaching staff have done to put young and bargain talent on the field to help this team. Also keep in mind, the salary cap will go up every year as the league continues to just churn out money.
With the draft done and new free agents in the house for 2015, let's keep applying the pressure. It is now time for new free agents like Ted Ginn (again), Charles Tillman, and Michael Oher and draft picks like Shaq Thompson, Devin Funchess, Daryl Williams and Cameron Artis-Payne to keep the string of great players going.
Fans expect that 3rd straight NFC South title and a deep run in the playoffs, but guess what folks, the Panthers expect that too. Pressure, pressure, pressure...