Panthers balance sheet: Offense in the black after Baker Mayfield trade

(Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Can the Carolina Panthers count on Christian McCaffrey?

Another season began impressively for Christian McCaffrey before injuries struck for the second straight year. This was nothing short of catastrophic for the Carolina Panthers, who had no viable game plan without the All-Pro leading the way and capitulated accordingly.

McCaffrey is so important to the Panthers and completely changes how opposing defenses go about things. But it’s clear something has to give after featuring just 10 times over the last two seasons.

If the Panthers can count on McCaffrey being healthy for a full slate and if others do more to take the pressure off, then it’s going to help their cause an untold amount. However, there is just no telling for sure whether the former first-round pick can become the iron man we saw over his first three years in the NFL.

D’Onta Foreman joining in free agency might help given his production filling in for Derrick Henry on the Tennessee Titans last season. Although it was an indifferent rookie campaign for Chuba Hubbard, it’s too early to be giving up on the Oklahoma State product entirely despite some hard work ahead.

However, this all comes down to McCaffrey, who is officially playing on the bumper new deal he received from the Panthers after his historic 2019 season. Any further complications will likely see questions raised about the player’s future long-term – which is far from an ideal scenario.