In a perfect world, the Carolina Panthers would limit Christian McCaffrey’s touches and win tons of games. In a more realistic world, they have to put the ball in the hands of their best player pretty frequently in hopes of winning the most amount of games. Their new offensive coordinator seems to recognize that.
Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady was asked in a conference call with reporters on Thursday about managing McCaffrey’s workload. While he acknowledged McCaffrey had tons of touches last year, he said the versatile running back can handle it.
“But if there’s one person that can take it — one person that takes care of his body — that’s Christian McCaffrey,” Brady said via the Charlotte Observer. “I can’t sit here and tell you guys the number (of touches) is 400 (in 2020); the number is 350. Every single game will be different. A lot of it will come down to the rest of the personnel on our team.”
That sounds a lot like a guy who is not making it a priority to limit McCaffrey’s touches by any means necessary. New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule may wish to harness McCaffrey’s workload, but he and Brady will have to balance that with the even greater desire to win.
McCaffrey had 1,387 yards rushing and 1,005 yards receiving with 19 total touchdowns last season.
Christian McCaffrey’s megabucks deal from the Carolina Panthers may have just set the market for elite running backs, and now one retired player who used to belong to that category is weighing in.
In an interview this week with John Glennon of The Athletic, Tennessee Titans legend Eddie George said that current Titans star Derrick Henry deserves to be paid like McCaffrey was, if not more.
“I think that Christian McCaffrey’s deal certainly opens up the eyes of people around the league in terms of what Derrick’s value is,” George said. “Derrick is the heart and soul of the Titans. They don’t make that playoff run without him. He led them to the brink of a Super Bowl berth. When you look at what Christian did from a running back perspective, productivity-wise, that was outstanding. But when it equates to wins and a team, it’s not comparable.
“I could see a deal similar or a little more than Christian McCaffrey, making Derrick the highest-paid running back in the league,” added George. “And create a deal where it’s a win-win for both sides. Maybe it’s not long in years. Maybe it’s a four-year deal. You look at it after Year 3, if he’s still producing, great. But you have to look at Derrick’s history. He doesn’t have a lot of tread off the tire. He’s just getting started. There’s tremendous upside, in my opinion, for what he can do, both on the field, certainly, and as a face of the franchise, something they’ve been trying to establish for a long time.”
McCaffrey and Henry do have very different playstyles and physical profiles, something that George also acknowledged in the interview. But the former just got a four-year, $64 million extension from Carolina at age 23, making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. Henry is now 26 and is not quite the threat McCaffrey is in the passing game, but his Herculean physique makes him arguably the toughest player to tackle in the league today. He also led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns last season.
Henry recently signed his one-year franchise tender worth $10.2 million for next season, but the Titans are already showing signs that they plan to pay him what he is worth. If George’s opinion serves as any indication, that is going to be A LOT of stacks.
Christian McCaffrey has something to prove after signing his record-setting deal, but his new coach may have a slightly more conservative plan in mind.
Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule indicated in an interview Tuesday that using McCaffrey effectively as a weapon does not mean leaving him on the field for the entire game, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic.
The 23-year-old McCaffrey saw a significant workload for the Panthers last season. He led the NFL with 403 total touches and played 93.3 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. The results were excellent though, as McCaffrey logged 1,387 yards rushing and 1,005 yards receiving with 19 total touchdowns.
McCaffrey has since agreed to a humongous extension that will make him the highest-paid running back in NFL history, and Rhule’s first order of business could be to make sure that the team’s sizable investment is properly utilized.
The Carolina Panthers have supposedly made just about every player on their roster available for trade this offseason, but they proved this week just how much they value star running back Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey has agreed to a four-year extension with the Panthers that will pay him around $16 million per year, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported. The deal will make McCaffrey the highest-paid running back in NFL history.
McCaffrey issued a statement confirming the new agreement.
Ezekiel Elliott was previously the highest-paid running back in football after he signed a contract worth $15 million per year with the Dallas Cowboys last offseason.
While $16 million per year may sound like a lot for a running back, McCaffrey is basically a running back and a wide receiver. He had 2,392 total yards of offense and 19 touchdowns in 2019. His 116 receptions were a record for an NFL running back, surpassing the previous mark of 107 that he set in 2018.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the Panthers under new head coach Matt Rhule, but McCaffrey’s ability to change the game cannot be overstated.
The Carolina Panthers are facing an uncertain future, but there is some interest in locking down their undisputed star player.
Panthers GM Marty Hurney admitted that the Panthers have had internal discussions with McCaffrey’s agent about a possible contract extension as the running back enters the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract.
McCaffrey is indispensible to the Panthers. He had 2,392 total yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019 on his way to his first All-Pro selection.
The Panthers may have designs on being bad for a year, but they can’t afford to lose McCaffrey in the long term. It would be in their best interest to get this done as soon as possible.
Christian McCaffrey has been virtually unstoppable this season, and his Carolina Panthers teammates are still in awe of what he is able to accomplish on a weekly basis. On Sunday, Gerald McCoy had a great way of expressing that.
McCoy was mic’d up for the Panthers’ game against the New Orleans Saints, and the defensive lineman told the NFL Films crew on the sideline that McCaffrey is the “most skilled white dude in NFL history.” He also called McCaffrey a “bad white boy.”
It’s rare for a non-quarterback to win the NFL MVP Award, but McCaffrey is a legitimate candidate. He already had over 1,500 total yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns entering Sunday, and that was in just 10 games.
McCaffrey is arguably the best running back in football, and he has been trying to counter the white running back stereotype dating back to his days at Stanford. He sent a very subtle message before the season hinting that we should expect big things from him, and to say he has followed through would be an understatement.
The Carolina Panthers lost 24-16 to the Green Bay Packers in the most heartbreaking fashion on Sunday.
Carolina had the ball with 2:24 left and drove all the way down to the Green Bay 2-yard line. They threw an incomplete pass on a 4th-and-1 from the four, but an offside penalty gave them new life.
Even though Carolina only had eight seconds, they got two cracks at the end zone. They threw an incompletion on the first shot, and then with the game on the line, they gave the ball to Christian McCaffrey. He got stuffed initially but was pulled towards the goal line by teammate Greg Van Roten.
McCaffrey was ruled to have gone down inches short of the goal line.
Had the Panthers running back tried to reach out and extend the ball, perhaps he would have gotten the touchdown call. There was no reason not to do so since that was the last play of the game, meaning it was a missed opportunity for McCaffrey.
Keep in mind that even if Carolina was ruled to have scored, they would have had to convert their 2-point attempt just to tie the game, so they were still a ways away from tying, much less winning.
Going back to their Week 2 loss against Tampa Bay, this is the second time this season the Panthers have lost on a failed McCaffrey run near the goal line.
Week 6 saw two winless teams finally get into the win column — though one came at the expense of another hopeless franchise. It also saw some surprising and electrifying performances, while highly-touted contenders gave fans and observers some reasons to be concerned going forward.
Who disappointed in Week 6? Here are ten letdowns.
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
Rivers’ stats may look good on the surface — 320 passing yards and two touchdowns — but things were much worse than that on Sunday night. Rivers buried the Chargers from the start, beginning the game with a punt and consecutive turnovers deep in their territory to give the Steelers great field position. Before they knew it, the Chargers were down 14-0. The Chargers had two punts, two turnovers (one for a touchdown on a botched swing pass/lateral) and a missed field goal in the first half. After rallying the team to within a score, Rivers ended his night with an interception on an overthrow. He really did not give his team a chance to win against a vulnerable opponent.
Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers
Another week, another setback for the former No. 1 pick. Winston turned the ball over six times against Carolina on five interceptions and one lost fumble. Not every pick was entirely his fault, but it’s symptomatic of Winston’s long-term turnover problem. He absolutely has to get these things cleaned up going forward — it’s basically impossible to win a football game when you’re responsible for six turnovers, no matter what the details of them are.
Christian McCaffrey had well over 300 touches in his second NFL season last year, and he is expected to see similar usage in 2019. That has led to some concern about him potentially suffering an injury or wearing down, but Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera says the team has a plan in place to prevent that from happening.
Rivera told reporters at training camp this week that the Panthers want to cut down on the amount of snaps McCaffrey plays without taking the ball out of his hands.
“The goal is to cut down on his plays, but we’re not going to take away his touches,” Rivera said, via Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer. “We want the ball in Christian’s hands. When he’s on the field, there’s no reason for him to be a decoy or be a swing guy.”
The concern with that approach is it might make Carolina’s offense more predictable, as defenses would know there’s a good chance the ball is going to McCaffrey when he’s on the field. That doesn’t mean they’ll be able to stop it, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner doesn’t seem concerned about opponents being aware of the approach.
“(Turner) basically said that the other day when he talked to you guys: We don’t want to take away the touches,” Rivera added. “What we want to do is take away the excess plays that he doesn’t have to be out there.”
Remember, Turner was the head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 2007 when LaDanian Tomlinson had 375 touches. He’s not afraid to ride his most dynamic player, and we know there are some injury concerns with Cam Newton. The Panthers would rather have McCaffrey take the hits, especially when he averaged 5.0 yards per rush and 8.1 yards per reception a year ago.
The Carolina Panthers posted a photo of Christian McCaffrey back in April that made it seem like the running back has been training with Arnold Schwarzenegger this offseason, but McCaffrey continues to insist the snapshot was deceiving.
McCaffrey sat down for an interview recently with Sam Alipour of ESPN the Magazine, and he was asked about the viral photo that made people think he has done some massive bulking over the past six months. He said he is entering training camp at his normal playing weight, but admitted he has gotten stronger.
“The internet’s a crazy place. When I came into the league, I was 20, so naturally I’m getting bigger, faster, stronger. But I’m only about a pound or two heavier than last year. I like playing at around 207, and that’s what I’m at right now. But I’m definitely stronger. This is one of the first times that I’ve been able to train for a full offseason because I came out of the season healthy. That makes a huge difference.”
Is McCaffrey just being modest? Here’s the photo:
McCaffrey made similar remarks about the photo earlier in the offseason, and the truth is it doesn’t really matter. He’s obviously in tremendous shape, which is bad news for the rest of the NFC South. McCaffrey broke out in a huge way in his second NFL season, racking up nearly 2,000 total yards from scrimmage and scoring 13 total touchdowns. There’s no reason he can’t match or surpass those numbers in 2019.