MX23RW : Monday, September 24 15:57:46

Carolina Panthers pick up Cam Newton contract option

The Carolina Panthers pick up the fifth-year option in quarterback Cam Newton's contract, keeping him at the team through to the end of the 2015 season.

The Carolina Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Cam Newton, keeping him with the team through to the end of the 2015 season.

The Panthers had until May 3 to inform Newton that they planned to exercise the option in his contract, but it has long been expected that they would do so after general manager Dave Gettleman hinted at the move last month.

The decision means that Newton, who was chosen as the first overall pick in the 2011 Draft, will be entitled to the average of the league's 10 highest-paid quarterbacks in the season after next.

The 24-year-old said earlier this week that he intended to take on a greater leadership role within the team next season, and he is expected to sign a long-term deal before his contract enters its fifth year.

Newton is currently recovering from ankle surgery but will be fit in time for the start of the 2014 season, in which he will look to help the Panthers record consecutive winning campaigns for the first time in franchise history.

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Panthers QB Cam Newton celebrates a touchdown pass against the New York Giants on September 22, 2013
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