4 candidates to be Christian McCaffrey’s backup in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports) Duke Johnson /

Duke Johnson

  • 2020 team – Houston Texans

Duke Johnson is another running back looking for a new home following his release by the Houston Texans. The dual-threat weapon has been a nice rotational piece throughout his career and, at least from the outside looking in, seems to be exactly what the Carolina Panthers are looking for in a potential backup option to slot behind Christian McCaffrey.

Johnson excels over short routes in the passing game. He has assured hands that were further evident with his 80 percent catch success rate in 2020, with the former Miami standout also able to run the ball off the edge efficiently to further enhance his overall contribution.

This would be a potential foil for McCaffrey in the event he needs a breather or is forced off the field for any reason. There should be a strong market for the free-agent despite the current climate thanks to his adaptability in almost any scheme, which could drive the price up to a region that would count the Panthers out.

However, the longer Johnson is on the scrapheap, the less he’ll be willing to take and Carolina would be a nice fit for the 2015 third-round pick considering how much they utilize running backs in the passing attack.