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NFL notebook: Panthers’ Newton close to contract extension

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The Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton are close to a long-term contract extension likely to run through the 2020 season.

Newton is scheduled to earn $14.67 million this season after the club picked up his fifth-year option. The new deal could be done as early as Monday, according to multiple reports.

ESPN 730 radio in Charlotte — owned by former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney — reported that Newton’s new deal, based on the current market, is likely to be worth between $20 million and $21 million a year.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the deal is expected to be for five years and worth more than $100 million.

–New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford, whose favorite superhero is Superman, had a chance to be a real-life Superman when he not only pulled himself out of a violent car wreck, but also helped another motorist to safety.

Weatherford said that while driving a rental car on a highway, he hit something in the road, causing the car to spin and the airbag to deploy.

Weatherford suffered only a few scratches, but then another car ran into his vehicle. Weatherford pried open the warped door of the other car and pulled the unconscious driver out of that vehicle.

–Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis is sidelined during the team’s voluntary workouts this week because of a quadriceps injury.

The left leg injury was not sustained during Organized Team Activities (OTA) but is preventing the kicker from taking the field. The severity of the injury was not released by the team. Philbin did say Sturgis would be sidelined “I think the rest of the spring.”

–The Denver Broncos reportedly signed first-round pass rusher Shane Ray.

The deal is worth about $9 million over four years, including a $4.8 million signing bonus, the Denver Post reported.

The Broncos drafted Ray 23rd overall — moving up five spots in a trade with the Detroit Lions to take the Missouri linebacker as he slid down the first round due to a citation for marijuana possession the week before the draft.

–The Arizona Cardinals reportedly signed first-round offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.

Humphries, drafted No. 24 overall, received a four-year deal worth $8.9 million, including a signing bonus of $4.74 million, according to Aaron Wilson of National Football Post.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed tackle Donovan Smith, the first of their two second-round selections in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Smith is expected to start at left tackle as the Bucs prepare to upgrade their offensive line in front of likely starting quarterback Jameis Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

–The Indianapolis Colts signed free agent wide receiver Tyler Rutenbeck.

The 6-foot-2, 186-pound Rutenbeck was originally signed by the Washington Redskins on May 7 after going undrafted out of the University of Dubuque, a Division III school in Iowa. He was released on May 18.

–The Tennessee Titans signed wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.

The Titans drafted Green-Beckham at No. 40 overall even though he sat out the 2014 season after transferring to Oklahoma.

Missouri kicked him off the team after two drug arrests and an allegation of assaulting a woman.

–The Arizona Cardinals reportedly signed first-round offensive tackle D.J. Humphries.

Humphries, drafted No. 24 overall, received a four-year deal worth $8.9 million, including a signing bonus of $4.74 million, according to Aaron Wilson of National Football Post.

Humphries, 21, is slated to work behind right tackle Bobby Massie and left tackle Jared Veldheer.

–New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t do much in the way of team drills during the team’s opening OTA practice a week ago, and was limited to a few punt returns in the team’s fourth OTA.

According to head coach Tom Coughlin, the reason for Beckham’s idleness, which has been ongoing since that first OTA, is due to hamstring soreness.

–Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan is taking his entire team to Jim Kelly’s charity golf tournament, which will count as one of the organized team activity days.

Kelly, a Hall of Fame quarterback, announced at his annual charity gala in Buffalo on Sunday night that the Bills will attend the golf outing in Batavia, N.Y., on Monday and count as the team’s fourth of 10 OTAs this spring.

–Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still and his 5-year-old daughter Leah will be honored during The ESPYS awards show in Los Angeles.

The Stills will receive the Jimmy V Perseverance Award next month for the way they have handled Leah’s inspirational fight with cancer, ESPN announced Monday.

Leah was diagnosed one year ago with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer that originally left her with a 50 percent chance of survival.


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