Days after indicating the Carolina Panthers were Christian McCaffrey with a new contract, general manager Marty Hurney has done just that. As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Panthers have signed McCaffrey to a new deal worth $16 million per season, resetting the RB market and making McCaffrey the highest-paid back in NFL history.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has echoed Schefter's report, noting that McCaffrey's new contract is a four-year, $64 million agreement. While the total value of the extension doesn't top that of the six-year, $90 million deal Ezekiel Elliott signed with the Dallas Cowboys ahead of the 2019 season, the $16M average annual salary ranks first in the league, just ahead of Elliott ($15M).
Pro Football Talk revealed the details of McCaffrey's lucrative contract: McCaffrey gets a $21.5 million signing bonus and an $825,000 base salary this season. In 2021, McCaffrey's base salary increases to $8,037,500 and $8.4 million in 2022. The contract reaches eight figures in 2023 at $11.8 million, which is the same amount through 2024. McCaffrey will make $12 million in 2025, the final year of the deal, which will be his age-29 season.
Lucrative RB contracts have become increasingly polarizing as the league seemingly devalues the position, what with the New York Jets reportedly looking to trade Pro Bowler Le'Veon Bell less than a year into a $52.5M deal and the Los Angeles Rams this offseason cutting ties with Todd Gurley two years after giving him $45M guaranteed.
McCaffrey, however, might be one of the few exceptions when it comes to RBs worth a big-money extension. The Stanford product has proven just as, if not more, dangerous as a pass catcher than as a traditional ball-carrier, breaking the NFL record for receptions by a RB in back-to-back seasons. Drafted eighth overall by the Panthers in 2017, he's had two straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons to go along with two straight 100-catch performances, totaling nearly 2,400 total yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019.
Still just 23, McCaffrey figures to be a centerpiece of new coach Matt Rhule's rebuild.
"I'm so excited to continue my career in Carolina," the RB told ESPN. "I want to thank Mr. (David) Tepper, Marty Hurney, and Coach Rhule for the opportunity to help lead this great franchise, and to all my teammates for their help along the way."