Sports Update: Run CM(oney)C (4/20/20) By: Josh Scott
As the saying goes, you reap what you sow. For Christian McCaffery, the work is certainly paying off.
Christian McCaffery, arguably the NFL's current best running back, signed a 4-year, 64 million-dollar contract extension with the Carolina Panthers last Tuesday. The contract grants a whopping 16 million per year, making McCaffery the highest-paid running back in NFL history. The new deal also guarantees the Stanford grad will stay a Panther through the 2025 season. Current Dallas Cowboys running back, Ezekiel Elliott, held the previous contract record with 15 million a year.
This contract extension is well deserved for the son of Ed McCaffery, the former Denver Broncos wide receiver. Since being drafted three years ago, CMC has accrued a staggering total of 2,920 rushing yards and 2,523 receiving yards. He becomes the first NFL player to accomplish such a feat. He currently averages 4.7 yards rushing and 8.3 yards receiving. This past year, he joined Roger Craig and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk as the third NFL player to have over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a single season.
While many congratulate the 23-year-old McCaffery, others speculate whether or not this will continue the trend of star running backs struggling to sustain impressive stats after signing big contracts. In 2018, Todd Gurley agreed to a 4-year, 60 million-dollar extension with the Los Angeles Rams. Last year, Le'Veon Bell signed a 4-year, 52.5 million-dollar contract with the New York Jets. Both star running backs had career-lows in yards rushing in 2019. Bell at 789 yards while Gurley, who is now an Atlanta Falcon, ran for 857 yards. Many worry this trend could continue for McCaffery as he enters his fourth season in the league.
It's no question that Christian McCaffery is a bright spot in a dark time for the Carolina Panthers, who over the last two seasons have had little to celebrate. From star players getting released to coaches being let go, it's no question the winds of change are blowing hard in Carolina. This new contract however, gives new head coach Matt Rhule a guaranteed star player, whom he can certainly build his team around. Hopefully, championships will follow.