Examining the 5 biggest financial commitments on the Carolina Panthers in 2023

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1. Christian McCaffrey - Former Carolina Panthers RB

  • $18.35 million (dead cap)

It was clear that Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers both needed a fresh start with the running back struggling to stay on the field and the team racking up losses. Trading their All-Pro was painful in the short term but it was the right move.

More importantly, it gave the Panthers a chance to start fresh with playmakers who will be closer to Bryce Young's timeline.

San Francisco clearly feels great about the trade as well with McCaffrey being a big part of the team's playoff push and helping them get one win away from the Super Bowl. If not for injuries to both quarterbacks, it is completely reasonable to think that the former first-round pick would have gotten his first ring.

Watching McCaffrey thrive in his new role is bittersweet for a team whose offense was often defined by the dual-threat weapon. But it's all part of the business and represented a necessary evil for a team in transition.

This was a part of turning the page for Carolina and provides McCaffrey with a real chance to win at the end of his prime. While the Panthers could be a surprise contender, it would be more reasonable to expect this team to be a true contender in 2-3 seasons once Frank Reich fully builds out the roster and Young adjusts to the next level.