Please don't ignore the entire quote.
He clearly wants to make sure he is healthy before committing the money.
Tepper literally states "all options are on the table". Paying Cam is an option. Therefor, its on the table.
The scenario you're describing is basically what happened with Steve Smith, but two years later we were in the Super Bowl and he never even got close.
And honestly, the same thing has happened with guys like Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice and numerous others. All their franchises survived.
Bottom line for me: If we wind up trading or cutting Cam Newton, I'll be okay with it.
If we wind up keeping him on the final year of his deal as a "prove it" season, I'll be okay with that too, and also with whatever results that season yields.
The only scenario that I feel would be absolutely the wrong move right now would be doing any kind of extension, especially one for big money. That'd be the Jake Delhomme contract part two, and quite possibly worse.
(the fact that we inexplicably still employ the author of that contract does make me a tad nervous)
Maybe and that's always possible but why not just retire at that point? Cam is already pretty well set he doesn't NEED football to be financially stable anymore. If Cam truly felt like he couldn't play I think he'd retire rather than trying to milk out whatever contract gets thrown his way