Will the Panthers’ gamble on McCaffrey pay off?
Christian McCaffrey is still young at 23-years-of-age and he has been incredibly resilient during his NFL career so far with the Carolina Panthers.
This is a player that has achieved 2,920 rushing yards, 2,523 receiving yards, and 39 combined touchdowns in three seasons as a professional. It is scary to think that he might get even better with a more productive offensive line in the coming years.
The Panthers invested heavily in their offense during free agency, bringing in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, wide receiver Robby Anderson and trading for experienced left tackle Russell Okung. The wheels are in motion for an improved season in a difficult NFC South. But everything is still going to run through McCaffrey.
Giving the player so much money, however much they deserve it, is always a gamble. This is especially evident for running backs and it will be up to Carolina to put the right pieces in place to protect their investment in McCaffrey. This will also give them the best possible chance of achieving success in the not-too-distant future.
He is the best dual-threat back in the NFL, of that there is no doubt. It is remarkable that McCaffrey hasn’t missed a regular-season game in three years given the pounding he takes on the field weekly.
At what point does this tolerance end? Every player has their limits and all it is going to take is one awkward collision to make this contract look unwise.
The Panthers are banking on McCaffrey playing the leading role in any turnaround that comes their way. This will be easier said than done in arguably the toughest division in the NFL. But Carolina has bet the house he can accomplish their objectives.