“Obviously, we’ve had internal discussions. Everybody knows what we think of Christian as a player. Other than that I can’t really say any more,” Hurney said.
McCaffrey is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, though the Panthers still hold a fifth-year option on him for the 2021 season. It’s no secret that the Panthers want to keep CMC for the long haul, but they don’t necessarily have to rush things, either.
The Panthers will have to weigh CMC’s performance and massive potential against the past perils of running back contracts. In the summer of 2018, the Rams handed Todd Gurley a four-year, $60MM deal to make him the highest-paid RB in the NFL. At the time, Gurley was fresh off of winning the league’s Offensive Player of the Year trophy. Less than two years later, the Rams released him outright. That’s just the latest example of a high-priced RB deal going south and no tailback is immune from the risk of injury – that includes McCaffrey.
CMC, who won’t turn 24 until June, earned his first career Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selections in 2019. Even though the Panthers struggled on the whole, he managed 1,387 rushing yards off of 287 carries, good for an average of 4.8 yards per tote. And, for good measure, he added another 116 catches for 1,005 yards receiving. All together, he scored 19 touchdowns on the year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.