4 injured Panthers players who could bounce back in 2021

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

There weren’t many hotter players in the league than Christian McCaffrey heading into the 2020 season. The running back became only the third player in NFL history to go over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season, which resulted in the Carolina Panthers giving him a four-year, $64 million deal that included a $21 million signing bonus and $38 million guaranteed.

Few would say the All-Pro wasn’t worthy of such a financial commitment. But McCaffrey’s iron man image came to a complete halt during the campaign that was full of frustration for Carolina’s franchise player.

The former first-round pick managed to feature in just three games in 2020 thanks to ankle, shoulder, and quad problems. McCaffrey’s production was still of the highest standard when he was on the field, gaining 374 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns – but it was staying healthy that became his biggest obstacle.

This means McCaffrey goes into next season with a big point to prove.

Which is great news for the Panthers.

Any further complications from an injury perspective will only heighten doubts about Carolina’s decision to give McCaffrey the league’s biggest-ever running back contract. He is sure to be raring to go once it’s time to resume team activities and if the Panthers can get him back for a prolonged period of time, it’s hard not to envisage a huge upturn in their fortunes.