Colorado native Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers was rewarded for his eye-popping production Monday.
Christian McCaffrey Contract Extension
McCaffrey agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $64 million, according to multiple reports, giving him an average salary of $16 million that tops the running back pay scale. He turns 24 in June and is now under contract with the Panthers through the 2025 season. He has 2020 and the 2021 fifth-year option remaining on his rookie deal.
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The eighth overall draft pick in 2017, McCaffrey is the second-oldest son of former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey. He’s a Valor Christian High School graduate and ranks among the league’s top current players:
*Rushing: Eighth in carries (623), fifth in rushing yards (2,920) and tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns (24).
*Receiving: Among running backs, first in catches (303, 60 more than second-place Alvin Kamara of New Orleans) and receiving yards (2,523). He also put up a crazy high number of touchdown catches (15), which tied for the league lead. McCaffrey set a running back record in 2018 with 107 catches and broke it last year with 116 receptions.
*All-purpose: Second in offensive touches (926) and first in yards from scrimmage (5,443). After averaging 30 touches per game his final two years at Stanford, McCaffrey has averaged 19.3 touches per game in the NFL.
“McCaffrey is a great player,” Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said last October. “He can run well inside, outside and he’s deadly in space. … You almost want to put a corner on him, because what’s unique about him is not only is he outstanding with the route tree out of the backfield, he’s also outstanding with the route tree when he’s lined up as a receiver.”
Panthers new coach on McCaffrey
The Panthers have transitioned to coach Matt Rhule and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. But the offense designed by new coordinator Joe Brady will continue to go through McCaffrey.
“Christian is obviously a special player,” Rhule said at the scouting combine. “He takes care of himself at an elite level.”
The first-year coach added this last week: “I think Christian McCaffrey is a centerpiece player that you can build around. And I think he really builds to the culture that you want to have within the building.”
Based on average salary, the Christian McCaffrey contract extension is the new running back leader, eclipsing Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million). He also tops the New York Jets’ Le’Veon Bell ($13.125 million) and the Broncos’ Melvin Gordon ($8 million).
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Tennessee’s Derrick Henry ($10.278 million) and Arizona’s Kenyan Drake ($8.843 million) are playing this year under the franchise and transition tags, respectively.
“(McCaffrey) runs through arm tackles, he’ll make you miss, he’ll run right through you and he’ll outrun you,” San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said last season. “He can do everything, and that’s what really makes it hard (for defenses).”
This article was first published by the Denver Post.