- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Contract talks between the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton on a multi-year contract extension are continuing and the sides are close to getting a deal done, said a person close to the negotiations.

A deal could be completed within the next two days, the person said on Monday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side has publicly released details of the negotiations.

Newton is expected to command a contract in excess of $20 million per season, which would be line with what several other starting NFL quarterbacks have signed.

The 26-year-old Newton is entering his fifth season with Carolina and has led the Panthers to back-to-back NFC South championships.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman repeatedly has said that signing Newton to a long-term deal is a priority.

Drew Brees set the bar for quarterbacks when he signed a contract worth $20 million per season in 2012. Since then, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco have signed similar deals.

Newton is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Panthers and is scheduled to make $14.67 million.

The Panthers have wanted to lock him before he would be eligible to hit the free agent market in February.

Newton was named the NFL offensive rookie of the year in 2011 after being selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. He is the only quarterback in league history to throw for at least 3,000 yards and run for at least 500 yards in each of his first four seasons.

He battled through a rough season last year following offseason ankle surgery, which prevented him from getting many reps with a new group of wide receivers.

When he did return, Newton fractured two ribs during a preseason game and missed the season opener. Then, as the Panthers were in the midst of a late playoff push, Newton flipped his truck in an automobile accident near the team’s stadium. He was hospitalized with two fractured bones in his lower back but would return after missing just one game.

The Panthers finished 7-8-1 but still won the NFC South. Newton got his first playoff win of his career by beating Arizona in the wild card playoffs. Carolina’s season ended with a loss to Seattle in the divisional playoffs.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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