5 Carolina Panthers players who might have already peaked

(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) Robby Anderson
(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) Robby Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

Excitement is building about Christian McCaffrey returning from various injury problems that restricted him to just three games in 2020.

The Carolina Panthers sorely missed the presence of their All-Pro running back – especially in close games. So there’s just no telling how big of a boost this will be if Matt Rhule’s men remain competitive against top opposition next time around.

McCaffrey is sure to put up lofty numbers once again providing there are no further complications from a health standpoint. But expecting him to be a 1,000-1,000 guy moving forward might be pushing things just a little.

First of all, the Panthers simply have to take some of the heat off their face of the franchise. This is the only way to ensure they get bang for their buck throughout McCaffrey’s four-year, $64 million deal that came with a $21 million signing bonus and $38 million guaranteed.

There’s nothing to suggest McCaffrey isn’t going to be the focal point. That wouldn’t be smart considering his gifts to get things down consistently.

It will be more about maximizing his production rather than allowing the former first-round pick to carry too much of the load.

This is a fine line and something Carolina needs to handle with care. Getting competent or above quarterback play from Sam Darnold will help McCaffrey, although that isn’t exactly a guarantee.