4 Carolina Panthers players to get excited about in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

To say things didn’t go according to expectations for Christian McCaffrey in 2020 would be a massive understatement. The running back endured some difficulties staying healthy thanks to ankle, shoulder, and quad problems, which was the first time he’s missed a prolonged run of games with the Carolina Panthers after the All-Pro was drafted in the first round back in 2017.

McCaffrey hadn’t missed a single game before this season, so it’s easy to give the player a pass. However, if the former Stanford standout does not shake off the injury bug next time around, it will cast further doubt on the team’s decision to give the star performer a four-year, $64 million extension with a $21 million signing bonus and $38 million guaranteed last year.

It’s clear that McCaffrey is still one of the best in the business.

But he goes into the 2021 campaign with plenty to prove.

This all bodes well for the Panthers. McCaffrey remains the focal point of their offensive scheme despite the emergence of other players – especially in the passing game – and not having him on the field is something that really hurt the organization during their close losses.

His production was still exceptional during the three games McCaffrey managed to feature in. But the Panthers will need him for much more than that if they want to mount a postseason push.