Panthers wisely reward Christian McCaffrey, the new face of the franchise

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With Cam Newton gone and Luke Kuechly retired, Christian McCaffrey has become the face of the Panthers. He’s also now the wallet.

McCaffrey’s record-setting contract, given to him after only three NFL seasons, represents one of the smartest moves that the Panthers have made under new owner David Tepper. McCaffrey would not have shown up for anything without a new deal, and the Panthers have avoided that complication in coach Matt Rhule’s first season by paying him.

McCaffrey likely wouldn’t have participated in the virtual offseason program, but per a source with knowledge of the situation it never got to the point where McCaffrey had to make a decision. The Panthers stepped up and got the deal done, before it ever became acrimonious.

It was smart for the Panthers to do it; McCaffrey’s agent, Joel Segal, engineered the eventual Khalil Mack trade after months of ugliness in Oakland and, more recently Segal quietly got DeForest Buckner a trade from San Francisco to Indianapolis. The Panthers avoided anything like that by getting the deal done.

The question now becomes whether they’ll regret it. There’s no specific reason to believe that they will as it relates to McCaffrey’s abilities, but most major second contracts given to tailbacks in recent years have been followed by the players having less-than-stellar performances.

For McCaffrey, it won’t be easy to maintain his current level. He became in 2019 only the third player to generate 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. But, still, if they’re going to pay quarterback Teddy Bridgewater $21 million per year over the next three to play quarterback, McCaffrey at $17 million is in comparison a bargain, even if he doesn’t generate back-to-back 1,000/1,000 years.

44 responses to “Panthers wisely reward Christian McCaffrey, the new face of the franchise

  1. Love watching McCaffrey play but he’s been used a lot between Stanford and Carolina. This is a risky contract given the position and the mileage he has already accrued.

  2. So, really, what happens is this Segal character does very well for his client and himself, but the teams his clients play for go immediately into a deep cap hell, even if 2-3 years away from being fully realized, with each player never winning jack squat.

    So he basically pulls the wool over on those teams and goes laughing to the bank, while his own client plays .500 or worse teams.

    The Bears, the Clots and the Panthers will not win jack squat in the next 5 years, not even one playoff game. Book it.

    Those contract numbers are so upside down, and the collateral used to acquire Mack and Buckner is such poor value, those teams had no confidence in simply drafting or even trading for a player on another team that may have a relatively close upside.

    In McCaffrey’s case, he was take too high for a glorified 3 down back who is certainly talented.

    There is a reason why the pricey rbs through the years never won SBs.

    Marshall Faulk was the only one to do it in the last 20 years. Case closed on this topic.

  3. Paying too much for a college HC that beat 1 team ranked in the top 25,Paying too much for an injury prone QB, Paying too much for a RB…Years of futility…

  4. CMC is only 24, he’s been injury-free, and is probably the most important non-QB in the league. He’s also a high-character guy and fan favorite here in Charlotte.

    Every new contract is a risk, but I see no reason not to make him the highest-paid RB in the league. He’s the best.

  5. Love the player, great fun to watch him play.

    But, no QB, no stars, HC is questionable….wow. Don’t pay the RB.
    Unless you need something to sell a ticket, I guess.
    Rebuild has begun.

  6. Bomani Jones and Stephen A Smith will be wailing on the air how the Panthers are racist for not giving this money to newton instead and making him the face of the franchise. You know they are self destructing over this news. I’ll buy a McCaffrey jersey just in spite of them and their ilk

  7. Can’t say I love giving a RB this much money. But this is a rare instance when a team can pay a RB big without major repercussions. This team is not going to seriously contend for another 2-3 years and probably aren’t extending anybody either until around that time (DJ Moore, Brian Burns).
    The team will be on the back end on the contract when they start to contend if the Rhule experiment works and they’re future QB will be ending his rookie contract when CMC’s is almost done.
    This makes sense if everything goes to plan. Which it probably won’t but I feel like paying a big time RB near the beginning of a rebuild is one of the few times it won’t cost your team dearly.

  8. Am I missing something? Everyone pissing and moaning about RBs getting paid…1005 of those yards where receiving yards! Blew em all away. Plenty of receivers dream of 1000 yard seasons but aint got the giblets to go across the middle, much less run between the tackles. This kid does…

  9. Wisely… not so sure about that??? Let’s see how this goes???

    One major injury and he’ll be crucified, and the Panthers will try to save face!!!

  10. Hell yea. What? Cam the man wants that huge money contract when he can’t stay healthy? This isn’t Auburn sugar baby. They made the right move by breaking you off.
    This is THE NFL. Either get on the poll and dance or get off the stage and take the fashion show in you locker room with you.
    Welcome to the real world. Your numbers have gone down and your games missed has gone up. Do your own math. Let’s start with 1-1 = zero for your team in games missed and it all starts with them. The fans. Short of going out their in a wheel chair you should have played.
    You didn’t.
    And now you want tears from us.
    Good luck with that next contract.
    You should have taken that contract that was on the table 2 years ago….

  11. “wisely” ? Hmm. We all know it’s a QB league, right? In 2015, while Christian McCaffrey was at Stanford University, Cam Newton had his best year. He had 35 TD’s and 10 int’s. The Panthers went to the super bowl. Cam was the league MVP. Cam’s best year= super bowl. Last year Christian McCaffrey had an awesome season. 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. The team went 5-11. So I’m stuck on that word “wisely”. I guess you could make the point that when you say “face” of the franchise, you mean that literally. Christian is a nice looking, clean cut fella. I think this owner wants to win, but winning isn’t his first priority.

  12. What is a “virtual offseason program?”

    I love McCaffrey btw….freaking Getty drafted 2 HOF rb’s in back-to-back drafts.


  13. Normally I’m not in favor of overpaying RBs.
    In McCaffreys favor is he’s only 23, has been excellent, and is more than a RB.
    I’d like to know more of the details before commenting further.
    If the contract includes a 5th year option at whatever the price is, and the contract has 3 years guaranteed then its fne.

    RBs tend to break down as they get older and older. You don’t win paying an RB huge money. The teams that have done it recently have all gotten burned. This may be ok, with some risk to the team, and not much upside. But McCaffrey has been excellent and should get paid a lot.

  14. So it’s ok to complain that Zeke got paid what he did and then say they still finished 8-8 and he didn’t help his team win more. But it’s ok to praise CM even tho with him they finished 5-11? Double standard if you ask me and I’m gonna go on a limb and suggest the color of their skin being different changes people’s opinions.

  15. I’d pay him over Ezekiel Ellott 10 times out of 10.

    But then, I wouldn’t have cut Cam Newton, so what do I know?

  16. Man, that is a lot of money for a RB.

    RB’s just don’t last long enough to invest all that money in. At 29 they are done more often than not. They also are fairly easily replaced. Maybe not the elite ones, but yeah.

    2020 is the last year of Aaron Jones rookie deal. I know the Packers are thinking of getting a long-term deal done with Aaron Jones this summer, but they also have to work on long-term deals for David Bakhtiari and Kenny Clark. Those 2 are more important to me. I love Aaron Jones, but again, I don’t like paying RB’s big money. I also like a big brusing elite RB like Derrick Henry more than a smaller cat with enormous talent like Jones.

    I really like A.J. Dillon out of BC. I would not be mad at Gute if he nabbed him in the 3rd or 4th round.


  17. >McCaffrey’s record-setting contract, given to him after only three NFL seasons, represents one of the smartest moves that the Panthers have made under new owner David Tepper.

    So let me see if I understand this correctly…

    McCaffrey’s given a record-setting contract after “only three NFL seasons” even though he’s under contract for 2-more seasons as a first round pick and it was “one of the smartest moves the Panthers made…”

    Gurley was given a record-setting contract after “only three NFL seasons” even though he was under contract for 2-more seasons as a first round pick and it was considered foolish by the Rams to do so because he was still under contract for 2-more years at the time.

    Sounds like some fuzzy math going on here. I guess the ability to see the future wasn’t limited to Nostradamus.

  18. Well at least Panthers fans won’t have to endure anymore pregame fashion shows from the locker room

  19. I disagree that the decision was wise – and it has nothing to do with CMac. He’s been a good player, but you can’t build a team around a RB, and that is exactly what Carolina is doing. QB’s and defense win championships – not running backs.

  20. Is there any guaranteed money in this new extension? If not, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

  21. CMC isn’t a RB he’s a receiving and running threat who can line up anywhere on the field
    he’s never been hurt & has proved he’s well worth his contract , there isn’t a player in the NFL that can do what he does that lines up in the RB position he’s the best there is in my opinion

  22. Since their clearly rebuilding it would have made more sense to trade him. Great player but no one wins with a running back anymore. Did they learn nothing from the Gurley and Zeke contracts?

  23. Every time a guy becomes the highest paid whatever, that’s all he ever is. Hopefully he doesn’t get the Payday Curse and get injured or have a lousy season, but it never fails.

  24. He’s rarely injured, isn’t a bruiser, and makes the most of every time he touches the ball. The deal looks excessive right now, but as the salary cap increases this deal (as long as he performs) in 2 years will pale in comparison to what Kamara or Cook will get, not to mention now the Panthers organization have put the Saints and Vikings in a position where they will have to spend to keep their guys as well. All in all a good move to get their deal done first.

  25. Smart signing. Mccaffrey is just 23, so this locks him up through the prime of his career.

  26. “there isn’t a player in the NFL that can do what he does that lines up in the RB position he’s the best there is in my opinion”

    And with someone else in his place last year, they probably would have gone 4-12 instead of 5-11. CMC is great, but the RB position just isn’t that important and what you can get out of the next guy up makes it a position not worth investing a ton of money in.

  27. This guy is a stud player – he has great talent but plays even better. He is a team player and a work horse. Now they just need to make sure they don’t over use him. I’d love to build a team around guys like this – ask for nothing, give you everything, and understand football is a team sport.

  28. If history is any pattern with Stewart and Williams, McCaffery will go down with injury early in the contract and the panthers will sign second rb to a similar comtract simultaneously.

  29. Makes him the 11th highest paid WR. Plus he runs the ball 10 – 15 times a game.

  30. I also agree that signing Teddy Bridgewater, paying a running back top dollar, and hiring a mediocre college coach is the path to success. Hurney is back, and the pounding resumes.

  31. The money they are paying combined for Bridgewater and McCaffrey is only $3m more than the Seahawks will pay Russell Wilson, $4m more than the Steelers will pay Ben Roethlisberger, and $4.5m more than the Rams will pay Jared Goff.

    Two consistently productive skill position players versus one. And in the case of Big Ben and Goff, certainly not consistently productive ones.

    And yes I know that Bridgewater missed a ton of time. But that was one catastrophic freak injury. He has NOT been injury prone otherwise.

    In that context, I like what the Panthers have done.

  32. The “wisely” part won’t be known for a couple of seasons. He’s a great talent but so was Gurley before the injuries. McCaffrey has been used A LOT for his short career and he missed some time in college to injuries so it’s not like he’s superhuman. Bottom line is that most RBs these days have very short peaks and they’ve frequently already reached them by the time the big contract comes. Maybe he bucks that trend. But maybe he doesn’t.

  33. Henry, Zeke, Bell, Gordon…must be nice to be white and get a great contract just handed to you on a silver platter.

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