Will McCaffrey see more time as a slot receiver in 2020?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /

How much time will Christian McCaffrey spend as a slot receiver for the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

There is nothing that Christian McCaffrey cannot do with the football in his hands. The Carolina Panthers stud has been showing off his catching ability on social media. But is there a chance the All-Pro will be used more in the slot next season?

The new face of the Panthers showcased his exceptional ability on a video that went viral over the weekend. McCaffrey’s behind the back catch on a deep route is a further testament to the sort of natural ability the former first-round pick has is passing situations.

While this sort of grab is unlikely to make an appearance on game day. However, what it demonstrated is how useful McCaffrey is and will be to the Carolina Panthers going forward. He became only the third player in NFL history to go over 1,000-yards rushing and receiving in a single season in 2019. And if the player continues on this same path, he is sure to go down as one of the all-time greats.

His influence within the Panthers’ organization was enough for them to give McCaffrey a four-year, $64 million contract extension this offseason. It also included a $21 million signing bonus and a little over $38 million in guaranteed money.

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This ensures new head coach Matt Rhule will have a dependable player to lean on as he looks to bring the Panthers back to prominence in the coming years. The options regarding McCaffrey are endless. And it will be very interesting to see how creative offensive coordinator Joe Brady will be when it comes to his star player.

McCaffrey will be tasked with carrying the load from the running back position once again. However, giving the player more than 400 carries is going to do more harm than good if they want the best out of the Stanford product for the duration of his new deal.

It will be up to the Panthers to come up with ways to maximize his productivity in a way that minimizes the risk of injury. McCaffrey has stayed relatively healthy throughout his career to date. But it is one of the most violent positions and the player now has a bullseye firmly on his back whenever he takes the field.

Putting McCaffrey as a slot receiver is something Brady might utilize more heavily in 2020. The player has polished his route running considerably and his presence in the position would warrant significant attention from opposing defenses.

How effective would McCaffrey be in the slot for the Carolina Panthers?

The Carolina Panthers got free-agent Teddy Bridgewater in at quarterback. And although he might not be the best deep-ball thrower, he is adept at picking apart defenses in critical situations.

McCaffrey is one of the more elusive route-runners in the NFL and has no trouble gaining separation in tight windows. The Panthers do have a primary slot weapon in Curtis Samuel heading into the season. But the franchise has been more than willing to use the former second-round selection in running situations when the opportunity arises.

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Something as simple as switching Samuel and McCaffrey on any given down has the scope to cause mass confusion, especially at the second level of a defense. Both players have the potential to break off big plays every time they touch the ball. And providing the offensive line holds up, this is something Panthers’ fans could see plenty of in 2020.

Carolina’s passing attack could be one of their most improved areas next season. They added free-agent wide receiver Robby Anderson to pair with D.J. Moore on the outside. And there is real hop Ian Thomas can make giant strides forward with more time on the field.

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McCaffrey’s threat in the passing game is the icing on the cake. And using him as a more prominent slot receiver is another enticing option for Brady and the Panthers to call upon.