Christian McCaffrey’s imminent return comes at the perfect time

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey’s return is coming at a good time for the Carolina Panthers.

Things don’t promise to get better anytime soon for the Carolina Panthers. They are in the midst of a three-game losing run following their disappointing home defeat to the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football, and this might be extended to five if they cannot come away with big upsets at the Kansas City Chiefs or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Getting Christian McCaffrey back is sure to boost their slim hopes of attaining success over the next fortnight. The Carolina Panthers have been without the star running back for a considerable period of time after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2. But he is set to make his long-awaited return to the lineup in time for the clash against the Super Bowl champions.

To say this is timely would be something of an understatement. McCaffrey has been sorely missed over the last three games and his presence would have helped a considerable amount with the contest on the line down the stretch.

The Panthers still need to be careful regarding McCaffrey. Ankle injuries do have a tendency to flare up if not fully healed. But it would be a surprise if he wasn’t given a considerable workload if close to 100 percent.

The Carolina Panthers need Christian McCaffrey.

Simply put, Carolina needs McCaffrey more than ever.

The All-Pro remains an indispensable member of the organization despite quiet murmurings to the contrary when Mike Davis was performing so well as a starter during their unbeaten run that now looks like a distant memory. Getting him back will provide this young roster with a huge lift and might even them to greater heights offensively than ever before.

Putting the former first-round pick around quality pieces who are firing on all cylinders such as D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel is a tremendous spot to be in. And it might also take some of the pressure off quarterback Teddy Bridgewater following his more disappointing performance of the campaign.

McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million extension with a $21 million signing bonus and $38 million guaranteed this offseason, the largest contract of its kind for a running back in NFL history. There is no denying he was worthy of such a deal after lighting up the league from the moment he took his first snap. But keeping him fresh will be pivotal to Carolina’s chances going forward.

This problem has only been heightened by McCaffrey’s recent absence. But the simple fact of the matter is that the Panthers’ season is in danger of spiraling on a downward curve against some high-quality opposition between now and the end of the campaign.

It’s absolutely imperative McCaffrey not only returns. But performs to the level we have become accustomed to seeing from the player.

Only time will tell as to whether this will be the case, at least initially. However, just his presence will make opposing defenses completely change their strategy that might also work in Carolina’s favor.

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McCaffrey is still the best dual-threat running back in the NFL and providing there are no complications this week, he should be chomping at the bit to make an impact at Arrowhead Stadium.