With the backlash the Denver defense has received over the last week from their helmet-to-helmet hits on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, it was inevitable that someone was getting fined.

According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, Darian Stewart was the first to receive his bill from the NFL.

While that may seem like a steep price to pay for one infraction, Stewart actually got off easy.

The NFL gave Stewart the standard first-offense fine for roughing the passer ($18,231), as opposed to the standard first-offense fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit ($24,309), according to NFL rules. The league easily could have categorized Stewart’s hit as a helmet-to-helmet hit, even if it wasn’t called so on the field. Likewise, given that the NFL’s fines are clearly listed as minimums, the league could have upped the standard fine as well, just to prove a point.

They didn’t.

ESPN’s Ed Werder says this is because the NFL understands that players like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson aren’t your run-of-the-mill quarterback, which makes them more susceptible to such hits.

According to Jeff Legwold, though, the Broncos aren’t off the hook yet. Brandon Marshall, Von Miller and Bradley Roby are all being reviewed by the NFL for their hits on Thursday night.

We’ll keep you updated on any more fines from the NFL.

(UPDATE 9:20 a.m.) As expected, Brandon Marshall has been fined by the NFL, too.

Marshall didn’t get called for a penalty on the field, but his fine is larger than Stewart’s because the league deemed that his hit on Newton was a helmet-to-helmet hit.

With Stewart, the NFL apparently believed that he led with, and first made contact with, his shoulder.


The league is still reviewing hits from Von Miller and Bradley Roby.