At 4:05 PM Monday afternoon, NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that superstar running back Christian McCaffrey signed a 4 year extension worth $64 million ($16 million annually), which will make him the highest paid running back in NFL history. Including the years remaining on his rookie deal, this should keep CMC in black and blue through 2025. Apparently, this deal has been in the works for quite a while.
After scrolling through Twitter for a while, I once again found the fans that argue that you shouldn't pay a running back after the recent returns on investments that the Rams, Cowboys, and Jets made. However, Christian McCaffrey is a different specimen. He not only has the ability to play the traditional running back role, but also perform at a high level in the slot and out of the backfield.
McCaffrey is only the third running back in league history with a 1000-1000 season, behind only Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig. During his three years in the NFL, he ranks 5th in rushing yards (2920 yds), 2nd most catches by any player (303), and the most receiving yards by a running back (2523 yds). After reviewing these stats, it is crystal clear that his contract isn't the only record-breaking thing.
It should be obvious to any sports fan how important Christian has been to the Panthers offense. Even Matt Rhule knows that as evidenced by his comments less than a week ago, "I think Christian McCaffrey is a centerpiece player you can build a team around...And I think he really builds for the culture that you want to have within the building." Let's be honest Panther fans, the 2019 Panthers would only be a 2-3 win team without CMC.
Still, other Panthers fans point to his heavy usage over the past two years. However that was Norv Turner's system, and his system is predicated largely on the run game. If you've been a sports fan, you should have heard of LSU's high-flying offense that led them to a National Championship win over the Clemson Tigers. Joe Brady uses the pass to set up the run, while Turner used the run to set up the pass.
Also, this is not a bad deal for down the road either because his new extension won't be in effect for another 2-3 years from now. By that time, all our new pieces drafted by Hurney and Rhule should still be on their rookie contracts- possibly including our future franchise quarterback.
Overall, I think the extension of Christian McCaffrey isn't as bad as people are making it out to be. Christian McCaffrey is easily the best back in the NFL right now. He deserves the money! McCaffrey brings leadership to the table as well, something Rhule was quick to point out in his press conference recently. With the lack of veteran presence due to the offseason departures of Kuechly, Olsen, and Newton, it's nice to see a young guy step up. So, congrats McCaffrey! You definitely earned it!