4 Panthers players who must be re-signed this offseason

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Corn Elder
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Corn Elder /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Davis /

Mike Davis – Carolina Panthers RB

One of the unsung heroes of the Carolina Panthers’ 2020 campaign was running back Mike Davis. Claimed off waivers from Chicago back in 2019, the veteran ball-carrier came through in a huge way this past season.

Stepping in for an injured Christian McCaffrey, Davis recorded 642 yards and six scores on 165 carries, all of which were career highs for the former South Carolina Gamecock.

Davis proved not only to be a solid runner to lead the team in rushing, but he was also effective in the passing game. He ranked fourth on the team in receiving, and 59 passes in relief of McCaffrey. It’s also worth mentioning that he was one of four Panthers to total more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage, a feat that has been accomplished only five other times in the Super Bowl era.

While the Panthers certainly hope to have a less-featured role for their backup running back in 2021, Davis proved the need for a good one just in case. It’s unlikely that Carolina will want McCaffrey to be a near-every-down back moving forward, and there appears to be a mutual interest in having Davis come return for another year.

At nearly 28 years old, Davis probably won’t be offered a true featured role in the free-agent market, so he could potentially be re-signed to a fairly team-friendly contract.

Youngsters Rodney Smith and Reggie Bonnafon could possibly figure into the veteran’s future with the team. But even still, it would be far from a controversial move to bring the team’s leading rusher back into the fold for 2021.