Christian McCaffrey

Contract Restructures: Panthers, Cowboys, Giants, Saints, Eagles, Steelers

It’s that time of year when teams are frantically maneuvering ahead of free agency. Due to the cap falling because of COVID-19, things are even more hectic than ever. We’ve seen a whole bunch of contract restructures come in, and there will be a whole lot more. Let’s catch you up on the latest batch and their financial implications:

  • The Panthers restructured Christian McCaffrey‘s contract recently, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. They converted $7MM of his $8MM base salary into a signing bonus, which freed up about $5.6MM in cap space for 2021. Almost a year ago McCaffrey signed his record-breaking extension that has him locked up through the 2025 season.
  • The Cowboys have had a busy week with Dak Prescott‘s massive extension now in the books, and they made a trio of moves to help clear some space. Dallas restructured the deals of Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins, a source told Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The reworking of the three offensive linemen’s contracts cleared up about $17MM in cap space for Jerry Jones. As Archer notes, these moves have now gotten Dallas under the cap for 2021.
  • The Giants just cut top offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler as they look to clear cap space to keep guys like defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. The Zeitler release isn’t the only shuffling they’re doing, as they also restructured the contract of tight end Levine Toilolo, and Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweeted the details. Rather than a procedural restructure like you see with star players, Toilolo actually took a pay-cut to stay with the team. He had been scheduled to make $2.95MM this year but agreed to reduce that to $1.6MM, saving the Giants north of $1MM against the cap.
  • We’ve got four other restructures to pass along, courtesy of this tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Saints restructured the deals of safety Malcolm Jenkins to save $3.4MM and offensive lineman Andrus Peat to save $6MM. New Orleans has the worst cap situation in the league, and they desperately needed moves like this to do things like franchise tag safety Marcus Williams.
  • The Eagles saved $2.4MM by reworking the deal of offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo. Philly is right up there with New Orleans in terms of bad cap situations, so GM Howie Roseman is likely far from done here.
  • The Steelers saved $880K by adjusting fullback Derek Watt‘s contract. Not exactly front page news here, but it should shore up Watt’s spot on the 2021 roster. T.J. and J.J.’s brother signed a three-year, $9.75MM pact last offseason.

McCaffrey Expected To Miss Week 14

The opening week of most fantasy football playoffs is on track to commence without Christian McCaffrey involvement. Matt Rhule said Thursday he does not expect the All-Pro running back to play Sunday, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets.

McCaffrey is dealing with his third known injury of the season. He suffered a quadriceps injury during the Panthers’ bye week and aggravated it Wednesday in practice. Rhule added the “at this time” caveat regarding McCaffrey’s status to face the Broncos, but Wednesday’s setback appears to have been significant. Prior to this new injury development, Rhule expected McCaffrey to return this week.

While McCaffrey wants to return this season, it would not surprise to see the Panthers hold him out after this injury-plagued year. If nothing else, this season has spared the 24-year-old star back some touches. After logging an NFL-most 403 in 2019, McCaffrey has just 76 this season.

Ankle, shoulder and quad maladies have limited McCaffrey to three games this season. Following his league-high 2,392 scrimmage yards and 19 TDs in 2019, the Panthers signed McCaffrey to a running back-record four-year, $64MM extension. He has been unable to stay on the field consistently enough to make an impact in Joe Brady‘s offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Brown, Brady

Previously slated to return in Week 14, Christian McCaffrey has run into another setback. The All-Pro Panthers running back suffered a quadriceps injury during the team’s bye week, and Matt Rhule said it tightened up during Wednesday’s practice, David Newton of ESPN.com notes. Rhule pointed to an offsite workout for the cause of McCaffrey’s latest malady, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. A high ankle sprain and a shoulder ailment have limited McCaffrey to just three games this season. Rhule said earlier this week McCaffrey was set to play against the Broncos on Sunday. This latest update could change that status. Given McCaffrey’s long-term importance to the Panthers, it would not exactly surprise at this juncture if the team opted to hold him out for the rest of the season. But it is too early to tell on that front, and Rhule said Wednesday that McCaffrey wants to return as soon as possible.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • The Panthers placed eight players on their reserve/COVID-19 list this week after two tested positive for the coronavirus. This appears to have stemmed from an outside gathering of players, with NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills indicating a bye-week gathering led to the virus cases, via Person (on Twitter). Seven of those players — including starters Shaq Thompson, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Derrick Brown — remain on Carolina’s COVID list.
  • Antonio Brown should be in the clear on finishing the 2020 season, and a recent change for his civil trial date could affect his 2021 free agency. A Florida judge moved the Buccaneers wide receiver’s trial date — for a civil case stemming from Britney Taylor’s rape allegation — to Dec. 6, 2021, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The NFL suspended Brown eight games this season, but Taylor’s allegation did not factor into that ban. The Taylor suit threatens to lead to another Brown ban, but that issue will be tabled for a while.
  • Tom Brady‘s assimilation to Bruce Arians‘ offense has not gone especially smoothly, despite the future Hall of Famer’s sporadic success in his first Bucs season. Particularly, the bevy of deep passes Arians’ offense calls for have resulted in Brady struggling as of late. From Weeks 8-11, Brady was just 5% (1-for-19) on passes that traveled 20-plus yards in the air, and ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine notes the Bucs staff had discussed adjusting the offense before their bye week. Arians said recently coverage recognition, and not ability, contributed more to Brady’s deep-ball issues. It will be interesting to see if the staff made larger-scale changes to the offense during the bye, considering Brady’s penchant for quick-strike, shorter passes. The Bucs, who have lost back-to-back games, will face the Vikings on Sunday.
  • The Falcons are set to interview Saints assistant GM Terry Fontenot for their GM post. One of three known candidates to succeed Thomas Dimitroff, Fontenot has been with the Saints for more than 15 years.

Latest On Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule says Christian McCaffrey remains week-to-week with an injured shoulder. But, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears that he’s pretty unlikely to play this week against the Vikings.

McCaffrey has barely been on the field this year, thanks to his injured shoulder and his previous ankle issue. Up until 2020, CMC had perfect attendance for the Panthers. With the playoffs likely out of reach, the Panthers’ decision on McCaffrey’s status will involve more than just his present condition. The star running back — recently signed to a whopping four-year, $64MM extension – could theoretically be held out with an eye on next year. The Panthers haven’t addressed such a scenario on record, however.

Mike Davis has done a solid job in McCaffrey’s stead, averaging 4.0 yards per carry on the year. His last outing — 64 yards on 19 carries — was less productive than usual, but the Panthers still cruised past the Lions by a score of 20-0, thanks in part to Davis’ early one-yard touchdown.

The Panthers have a Week 13 bye coming up, which could allow for CMC to return on Dec. 13 vs. the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Rule Out Christian McCaffrey

The Panthers have officially ruled out Christian McCaffrey for Sunday’s game against the Lions. This was the expected move as CMC continues to nurse an injured shoulder. 

The good news is that McCaffrey’s season is not believed to be in jeopardy, though the Panthers will have to sort out the risk/reward of putting their franchise player on the field in the midst of a losing season. So far, he’s appeared in just three games in 2020 thanks to an ankle injury and his latest shoulder issue. Up until this season, McCaffrey had perfect attendance through his first three pro seasons.

In the seven games that McCaffrey has missed, Mike Davis has served as the Panthers’ lead back. That’ll be the plan once again when they face Detroit on Sunday. In CMC’s three games on the field, he’s totaled 59 carries for 225 yards and five rushing TDs, plus 17 catches for 149 yards and one receiving TD. Of course, this isn’t the encore that he had in mind. In 2019, McCaffrey managed 1,387 rushing yards off of 287 carries, giving him an average of 4.8 yards per tote. He also caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards through the air. All combined, he notched 19 touchdowns en route to a record-breaking four-year, $64MM extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey

After getting a second opinion on his injured shoulder, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been told that he may be able to play next week against the Lions, sources tell NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). That’s excellent news for CMC, who was previously thought to be facing a much more serious issue. 

[RELATED: CMC Suffers Shoulder Injury]

McCaffrey will be sidelined for Sunday against the Bucs, but it no longer sounds like his season is in jeopardy. It’s safe to say that he’s eager to get back on the field — McCaffrey has appeared in just three games this year thanks to an ankle injury and his latest shoulder malady. All in all, he’s got 59 carries for 225 yards and five rushing TDs on the year, plus 17 grabs for 149 yards and one score through the air. Before this, McCaffrey had perfect attendance through his first three pro seasons.

Without CMC, the Panthers will continue to rely on Mike Davis as their primary running back. The veteran has done pretty well with the first-string unit, racking up 353 yards off of 85 carries plus 43 catches for 278 receiving yards. The Panthers will need Davis to be at his best this week in order to beat the Bucs and snap their four-game losing streak.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey To Miss Time

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is not expected to play Sunday against the Buccaneers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). McCaffrey is now considered to be week-to-week with his right shoulder injury, though he’s meeting with a specialist today for a second opinion. 

Last week’s game against the Chiefs marked McCaffrey’s return to the field after he was sidelined with an ankle injury. Now, after taking a big hit from Kansas City safety Daniel Sorensen, he has a new ailment to deal with. Before that, CMC ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and caught ten passes for 82 yards and a TD.

McCaffrey did not miss a game during his first three seasons. Even in a trying 2019 for Carolina, McCaffrey managed 1,387 rushing yards off of 287 carries, giving him an average of 4.8 yards per tote. He also caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards through the air. All combined, he notched 19 touchdowns on the year, paving the way towards his record-breaking four-year, $64MM deal in the offseason.

The 33-31 loss to KC knocked the Panthers down to 3-6 on the year, which means that the Panthers may have a tough decision to make if McCaffrey’s issue lingers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: McCaffrey, Minshew, Biadasz

Christian McCaffrey finally made his highly anticipated return from his ankle injury yesterday against the Chiefs, but unfortunately the Panthers superstar picked up another minor ailment toward the end of the game. McCaffrey hurt his shoulder on the final drive of the game, and head coach Matt Rhule is labeling him day to day moving forward. But McCaffrey is apparently in a great deal of pain and his status for this Sunday’s game against the Bucs is “very much in doubt,” reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter video link). It doesn’t sound like anything long-term, but this could once again become Mike Davis‘ backfield, at least for this weekend.

Here are more health updates from around the league:

  • The Jaguars nearly picked up an upset win over the Texans in Jake Luton‘s NFL debut, and he’ll get another crack at it in Week 10. Head coach Doug Marrone told the media that Gardner Minshew is unlikely to be available this weekend due to his thumb injury, and that Luton will likely start once again. Luton had a pretty impressive debut for a sixth-round rookie, passing for 304 yards and a touchdown with an interception while coming very close to leading a comeback. It’s no guarantee Minshew gets his job back even when he’s healthy.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, they at least did get some good news back on rookie receiver Laviska Shenault. Shenault left yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury and was ruled out, but Rapoport tweets that he received good news from his MRI, and a source told him Shenault has a good chance to play this week against the Packers. The 42nd overall pick of April’s draft has been a consistent contributor, with at least three catches in every game that he’s finished.
  • The Cowboys on the other hand weren’t quite as fortunate. Rookie center Tyler Biadasz hurt his hamstring during pregame warmups, and EVP Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan this morning that he’ll be out 2-3 weeks with the injury. It’s another brutal blow to a Dallas offensive line that has been decimated by injuries. The fourth-round pick from Wisconsin had been the Cowboys’ center for the past 5.5 games. Joe Looney started the first few games, and he’ll now get his starting job back for the time being.
  • Colts tight end Jack Doyle is in the concussion protocol and likely won’t be able to be cleared in time for Indy’s Thursday Night Football AFC South showdown with the Titans, head coach Frank Reich announced Monday. Doyle had touchdowns in back to back weeks before going down on Sunday, and his absence will limit Indy’s ability to run the multi-tight end sets they like so much with Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/7/20

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Thomas, McCaffrey

Not that much doubt existed as to why Antonio Brown is in Tampa, but the Buccaneers indeed reversed course on the volatile wide receiver because Tom Brady pushed for the signing, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora notes. Brown is living with Brady, who insisted to Buccaneers brass he would work with the former All-Pro daily to ensure he does not become a problem for the organization.

Brady told them he is going to make sure this is not a problem,” a source with knowledge of this process told La Canfora. “He guaranteed BA (Bruce Arians) that he would make sure this guy did everything he has to do, even if Brady has to drive him there himself. And (the Bucs) made it clear to Brady that Brown is on a very short leash. If he (slips up), he’s gone.”

Brown went from potential first-ballot Hall of Famer to the epicenter of numerous controversies last year, but Brady expressed disappointment the Patriots released him after one game. Arians said in March that Brown would not be a fit with the Bucs. They activated him this week; Brown will debut for a third team Sunday against the Saints.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Staying on the subject of availability for the biggest game in the history of the Saints-Bucs series, Michael Thomas is finally on track to return to action. The All-Pro wide receiver, who has not played since suffering an ankle injury against the Bucs in Week 1, is on track to be back in action Sunday night, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. Thomas has missed six games due to ankle and hamstring injuries and for striking a teammate. Emmanuel Sanders also practiced Friday, putting the veteran No. 2 wideout in line to play Sunday. Sanders missed two games after contracting the coronavirus.
  • In this suddenly intergalactic matchup of receiving corps, Chris Godwin will be back as well. Arians said Friday the fourth-year target will be back after undergoing surgery on a broken finger. Godwin has missed time due to three separate issues this season, and given that doctors told him he would face a four- to six-week recovery timetable — per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter — his return will be worth monitoring. Doctors inserting pins into Godwin’s damaged index finger opened the door for him to miss just one game, Schefter adds.
  • Keeping with the “return to action” theme here, Christian McCaffrey‘s six-week hiatus is expected to end. The All-Pro Panthers back will be activated ahead of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, per Matt Rhule. McCaffrey has been sidelined since Week 2 because of a high ankle sprain.
  • Calvin Ridley is battling a mid-foot sprain, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link), and is questionable to face the Broncos on Sunday. Ridley left the Falcons’ Week 8 win with the foot malady.