Inside the Christian McCaffrey contract

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The new contract between the Panthers and running back Christian McCaffrey has become official. And the deal does indeed make McCaffrey the highest-paid running back in football.

The details of the deal, per a source with knowledge of it, follow. Following that, some analysis.

1. Signing bonus: $21.5 million.

2. 2020 base salary: $825,000, fully guaranteed.

3. 2021 base salary: $8.0375 million, $7.7375 million of which is fully guaranteed at signing.

4. 2022 base salary: $8.4 million, $8.1 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing. The $8.1 million becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 (not 2022) league year.

5. 2023 base salary: $11.8 million, $1 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing.

6. 2024 base salary: $11.8 million.

7. 2025 base salary: $12 million.

8. 2021-25 workout bonuses: $200,000 per year.

The four-year extension has $30.0625 million fully guaranteed at signing. Another $8.1 million becomes fully guaranteed next March, making the practical guarantee $38.1625 million. (The Panthers could avoid owing him $38.1625 million only by cutting McCaffrey after one year, and paying him $30.625 million, with offset language subject to the $7.7375 million guarantee in 2021.)

The contract has a new-money average of $16.01853 million for the new four years. The full contract has a value of 75.36 million over six years, based on the $11.299 million McCaffrey was due to earn in 2020 and 2021.

The full guarantee at signing ($30 million and change) represents nearly 40 percent of the full value of the deal, which isn’t typical for tailback contracts. Instead, receivers are more likely to have a full guarantee in the range of 40 percent of the total deal.

Also, McCaffrey got his new deal after only three seasons, without a holdout or any other public ugliness. It’s a testament to Panthers owner David Tepper, who recognized that McCaffrey is a high-talent, high-integrity core player who will be part of the franchise’s nucleus for years to come. McCaffrey’s compensation packages recognizes his importance to the offense, especially as the team transitions from Cam Newton to Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.

Since McCaffrey is still only 23 years old, he’ll have a chance at another new deal at some point before he turns 29. If he remains healthy and effective, yet another big payday could happen down the road.

With plenty of other running backs closing in on new deals, McCaffrey has set a bar that may be hard to surpass, especially if the salary cap takes a hit in 2021 based on reduced revenues in 2020.

19 responses to “Inside the Christian McCaffrey contract

  1. I recall laughing when they drafted this dude, I thought he had bust written all over him. Now I know why I’m not a GM of a NFL team.

  2. Bridgewater & Mccaffrey need to produce weekly to justify their salaries.

    Produce means win!!! Playoffs or bust!!!

  3. Hate the deal.

    Panthers are in rebuild mode. Paying a top line RB only works if you have the chance to win now.

    Building around a running back is insane as all other important positions players have twice the prime at least.

    Rule for running backs should always be draft mid rounds pay for one or two years at the end if they are elite then let them go.

  4. Didn’t McCaffery sit out a bowl game in his final college season? Whats to say that he wouldn’t sit out a playoff game if he was still on a rookie contract? I guess that’s the public ugliness that you referred to.

  5. Last paragraph is key. Lotta dudes (guys without deals for next year) are going to be cut loose if revenue drops. Realistically, if revenue drops everyone will have to take cuts or it won’t be possible to field a team.

  6. Set the bar lol elite players get paid like that so if your not elite then settle for less. This idea that everybody gets this contract now is crazy

  7. It’s a reasonable deal for both sides.
    It would be an overpaying today, but it’s after 2 more years

  8. Well-deserved. I know the Gurley and David Johnson extensions were pretty disastrous, but with the way McCaffrey is used, I don’t think you’re going to hear much argument that he’s not worth every cent.

    Plus, he’s a good guy and the face of the franchise.

  9. Smart of them to get ahead of it. He’s absolutely worth it. They should try to mitigate some of the wear and tear by not overusing him so they get the full value of the contract.

  10. I hope it turns about to be a great deal for both sides and he isn’t hurt in the next 3 years.

  11. bjwbrown2011 says:
    April 17, 2020 at 1:04 am
    Hate the deal.

    Panthers are in rebuild mode. Paying a top line RB only works if you have the chance to win now.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Basically getting a RB1 and WR2 for 16 mil/yr

  12. tylawspick6 says:
    April 16, 2020 at 10:32 pm
    Cap hell coming in 2021 and NE with already 100 million in cap space.

    LOL

    BB did it again.

    ——–

    It’s 2020…..let’s talk about this year. BB is paying over $25M to players no longer on the team and has a little over $1M to pay all his rookies. Genius!!

  13. he’s 23 and can play both positions he’s not you’re run of the mill rb….he stays healthy, which he’s done well of so far he will out perform that contract big time…great signing for carolina

  14. It’s a lot of money but McCaffrey is a lot of player, he’s not just a RB as others have stated. With check down Teddy coming to town McCaffrey will maintain his 8-10 catches per game. He’s so explosive Though he turns those into 80-100 yards a game easy.

  15. pbdisciple says:
    April 17, 2020 at 1:11 am
    Last paragraph is key. Lotta dudes (guys without deals for next year) are going to be cut loose if revenue drops. Realistically, if revenue drops everyone will have to take cuts or it won’t be possible to field a team.

    9 0 Rate This

    ———————

    lol

    That’s what I said above. It could be like 1995 when you had Carolina and Jax as expansion teams and the dawn of the cap era squeezed a gazillion quality vets into fa and to go get big money to play on those teams at the time.

    BB will have 100 mil+ in cap space with a flooded fa market due to cuts.

    Look at the pickle the Chiefs are in. You have to wonder why Miami just spent 237 million in one free agent market if the market could flood with vets, lowering fa prices due to the cuts off of low revenue for the 2020 season.

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