In an offseason full of change, the Panthers are locking up a key piece for their future.
Carolina is signing Christian McCaffrey to a four-year, $64 million extension, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
On a per-year basis, the deal vaults McCaffrey past the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott as the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
McCaffrey validated Carolina’s decision to select him with the eighth overall pick of the 2017 draft by posting a 1,000-all-purpose-yard season as a rookie, then took a significant leap in his second season, breaking 1,000 rushing yards with an increased workload and flirting with 1,000 receiving yards. His best season saw him do just that, becoming the third player in NFL history to break 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season with 1,387 on the ground (and 15 touchdowns) and 1,005 receiving (plus four receiving scores) in 2019.
McCaffrey has earned two All-Pro selections in three seasons, including a first-team honor in 2019, and was also named a Pro Bowler in 2019. McCaffrey’s contributions have been a bright spot in the last two years, in which the Panthers have been forced to endure injuries to quarterback Cam Newton, who ultimately was released by the team last month.
His track only points to more success, as the running back still has plenty of good football ahead of him as he nears his age-24 season. With the Panthers saying goodbye to established contributors elsewhere in an eventful offseason, they’re wise to keep their star running back as they begin a new era under coach Matt Rhule.
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