Several running backs have signed sizable contract extensions in recent years and many of those backs have fallen short of expectations while playing out their new pacts.
That didn’t stop the Panthers from moving forward with a new deal for Christian McCaffrey, however. McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the team in April and expressed confidence that things will work out better for him than some of the other backs.
General Manager Marty Hurney’s explanation of why they feel that way was centered on McCaffrey being a different kind of back.
“You hit the word correctly when you said versatility,” Hurney said, via Joseph Person of TheAthletic.com. “Christian’s ability and his performance as a receiver is very unique to the running back position, as you can see by the 1,000-1,000 marks that he surpassed last year. He really is a different type of running back at the position than maybe we would’ve thought of three, five, 10 years ago because of his ability to create mismatches as a receiver, his ability to run between the tackles, his ability to make big plays. He really is a combination running back/wide receiver. All those things led to us — and as you said, his ability as a leader, the type of commitment that he shows, the type of person that he is, the way he comes every day to get better — all those things went into play.”
McCaffrey’s 2,392 yards from scrimmage last year was the third-highest total in history, so he’s clearly operating at a very high level. The same could be said of players like Todd Gurley and David Johnson when they got their deals, though, and the fact that both players are now on different teams will still linger as an illustration of the risk involved with such contracts.