Christian McCaffrey named as Comeback Player of the Year frontrunner

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

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been named the frontrunner to secure the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2022. 

There is once again an enormous sense of excitement surrounding Christian McCaffrey and his return to the field in 2022. Something that was also evident last season before the running back endured more frustration on the injury front that was nothing short of disastrous for the Carolina Panthers and their chances.

A distinct lack of continuity of offense without McCaffrey was a leading factor behind their demise in 2021, losing 12 of their final 14 games and also exposing Sam Darnold along the way. Becoming over-reliant on the former first-round pick backfired in a big way, so finding a better solution to keep him on the field is of paramount importance.

It’s also been an offseason of reflection for McCaffrey, who sought the counsel of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk on how to maintain longevity by altering training methods. Both players boasted the same dual-threat capabilities and are roughly the same height, so any advice was welcome and can hopefully be implemented effectively to avoid further complications.

If McCaffrey remains healthy for an entire campaign, then there’s just no telling how much better the Panthers will become as a result.

It would also put the All-Pro in contention for some individual awards once the season concludes.

Christian McCaffrey named as frontrunner for NFL Comeback Player of the Year

FanSided’s national NFL reporter Matt Verderame put McCaffrey atop of his power rankings for those who could win the Comeback Player of the Year award in 2022. This would represent a fine achievement from the Stanford product and could be enough for the Panthers to surprise some people with little expected in the third season under Matt Rhule.

Here is Verderame’s full list, which features some star-studded names that will also fancy their chances of scooping the crown.

  1. Christian McCaffrey
  2. Jameis Winston
  3. J.K. Dobbins
  4. Derrick Henry
  5. Khalil Mack
  6. Danielle Hunter
  7. Baker Mayfield
  8. Michael Thomas
  9. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  10. Travis Etienne

Panthers fans have been hurt before when it comes to McCaffrey. They expected big things from the player last season and although his production remained at an elite level, he just wasn’t able to put a consistent run of games together.

New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has a big challenge on his hands regarding McCaffrey. Finding the right balance to maximize production while keeping him fresh is the only way this ongoing situation will resolve.

Easier said than done given the player’s importance. But the Panthers have enough skill-position talent to alleviate pressure and there is also the signing of D’Onta Foreman from the Tennessee Titans to factor into the equation.

McCaffrey knows what’s at stake for himself and the organization next season. If the same problems surface once again, then Carolina could be forced into looking at moving on from the former first-round pick via a potential trade if dependability remains an issue.

Hopefully, this won’t come to fruition and McCaffrey can return to the form that saw him become the third player in NFL history to go over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in 2019.

All fans can do is hope and wait with bated breath.

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