Carolina Panthers right to save Christian McCaffrey from himself

Dean Jones
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey may not have liked it, but the Carolina Panthers were absolutely right to save the player from himself.

It wasn’t ideal for anybody.

But the Carolina Panthers were absolutely right to save Christian McCaffrey from himself.

Putting the star running back on the reserve/injured list was obviously a last resort. McCaffrey was given every chance to come back sooner than expected from a hamstring injury suffered at the Houston Texans, even though the soft tissue nature of such a problem normally doesn’t recover without considerable rest.

McCaffrey is not that type of character. Even though this fierce desire to help the Panthers actually worked to his detriment in this instance.

After a setback prior to their game against the Minnesota Vikings, head coach Matt Rhule and other staff took the decision out of McCaffrey’s hands. Something they should have done right from the outset.

Considering McCaffrey’s influence within the organization, he gets more say than most.

When asked about the All-Pro’s usage earlier this season, Rhule himself stated that McCaffrey wants this sort of responsibility despite the obvious complications that come with it.

McCaffrey has now missed 17 of the last 23 games. The Panthers are 0-4 without him.

All of these have come following the team’s decision to hand the former first-round pick a four-year, $64 million deal with a $21 million signing bonus and $38 million guaranteed.

This contract also makes McCaffrey untradable. Although one cannot argue his importance to the Panthers judging by their production without him.

Just when McCaffrey will see the field again is unclear. The Panthers are getting some solid production from rookie Chuba Hubbard in his absence, but the decision should be taken out of the Stanford product’s hands to a certain extent.

Christian McCaffrey should not dictate when he returns for the Carolina Panthers.

McCaffrey obviously feels the pressure and hears what people are saying about him being injury-prone now his once-proud iron man status is a thing of the past. This will only increase his sense of urgency, but it also throws out the prospect of the player returning too soon once again.

There isn’t a realistic out on McCaffrey’s contract for a while. So keeping the bigger picture in mind is of critical importance if Carolina wants some bang for their buck.

They’ve been too reliant on McCaffrey. And this has come back to haunt the team with no real Plan B without their face of the franchise.

Unacceptable considering how much time McCaffrey’s missed over the last two seasons.

He’s still the league’s best dual-threat back when fit and firing on all cylinders. But this is something that McCaffrey has seldom been able to do of late and unless Sam Darnold proves he can pick this team up without his primary security blanket alongside him in the backfield, the Panthers will only get so far.

The last thing Carolina wanted was a situation like this again.

But in truth, it’s something they and McCaffrey could have handled better.

What’s important now is learning from this, letting McCaffrey get all the rest he needs, and making their own decisions as to when the player comes back.

Leaving it up to McCaffrey is doing more harm than good.

Related Story. What comes next for the Carolina Panthers and Christian McCaffrey?. light

Nobody wants McCaffrey to fail. But this is a situation that’s become all the more precarious and unless adaption is implemented, further complications could surface at any moment.