The conversation around Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey has concerned his contract situation with the franchise. McCaffrey is headed into the final year of his rookie deal, which pressed questions about when his next contract would be worked out. The Panthers have quickly put an end to that discussion by inking their star running back to a record-breaking deal.
Christian McCaffrey’s NFL career
Through his first three seasons in the league, McCaffrey has quickly risen the ranks as arguably the best running back.
He has continued to produce at a record-breaking pace with his production that has increased every year. McCaffrey is coming off a career-best campaign that earned him some strong MVP consideration as he finished third with 1,387 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns along with being second with 116 receptions for 1,005 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
That also included him breaking the single-season record for a running back with 116 catches, which shattered the previous mark set by him the season before (107). McCaffrey also became the first running back to post multiple 100-reception seasons, while his 2,392 total scrimmage yards are the most in Panthers history.
McCaffrey also added other notable statistical feats such as becoming the third player to record at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards that put him alongside Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and former San Francisco 49ers great Roger Craig. It pushed forward the discussion around his contract situation with the franchise, which the team has quickly resolved on Monday afternoon.
Christian McCaffrey’s historic new deal
Over the last few weeks, there has been some lingering chatter around McCaffrey’s contract situation as he was heading into the final year of his four-year rookie deal.
The expectation was that the team was going to pick up the fifth-year option, but the questions around the matter stemmed from his production, proving that he deserved a massive new contract. The Panthers did quick work of that as they have made him the highest-paid running back in league history, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
It’s a well-deserved payday for McCaffrey, given the significant amount of production that he has put forth in his first three years. He has put up historic numbers all before age 24. That likely made inking him to a new deal an easy decision due to his bright future ahead of his massive role in the team’s offensive plans and future moving forward over the next several seasons.
McCaffrey’s contract puts his annual salary above the $15 million annually that Ezekiel Elliott received on his six-year, $90 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys last year. Beyond that, his contract resets the market for running backs and could mean some more huge paydays ahead for other star players at the position are nearing the end of their current contracts.
Christian McCaffrey’s reaction to new deal
The tea leaves were there that the Panthers were eyeing getting a new deal done with their star running back.
It didn’t take long for the franchise to secure a lucrative long-term deal to keep McCaffrey with the team for years to come. The 23-year-old voiced his excitement about being able to continue his career in Carolina with the opportunity to lead the franchise forward.
“I’m so excited to continue my career in Carolina. I want to thank Mr. Tepper, Marty Hurney, and Coach Rhule for the opportunity to help lead this great franchise, and to all my teammates for their help along the way. And to Panthers fans, KEEP POUNDING!”
The move by Carolina shows that they have a lot of belief that McCaffrey can lead the franchise to much success. The team has undergone much change this offseason with new head coach Matt Rhule and a free-agent addition quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the mix.
These three are hoped to be the foundation of the franchise for at least the next several years that could see some promising seasons ahead.