Report: All-Pro weapon to be available this offseason, should Eagles make the call?
Another day, another report of a high-profile player potentially being on the move.
Yesterday it was Falcons WR Calvin Ridley; today we have a report of another player in the NFC South. Per The Athletic’s Joseph Person, the Carolina Panthers will listen to offers for star running back Christian McCaffrey this offseason:
Where would you want to see CMC next? 👀 pic.twitter.com/FufoO3J1LS— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 7, 2022
The former #8 overall pick signed a four-year, $64M contract with the Panthers last April, making him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. However, McCaffrey has played in just ten games since, appearing in three games last season and suffering a season-ending ankle injury in November.
When healthy, McCaffrey is a do-it-all weapon on offense. He became just the third player in NFL history to finish with 1,000+ yards rushing and receiving in 2019, earning him All-Pro honors at both the running back position and top flex player.
The news shouldn’t come as a complete shock. The Panthers are in complete disarray at quarterback and are headed for their fourth consecutive losing season, second under head coach Matt Rhule. Unloading their best player to try and rebuild this thing is a reasonable first step.
So now for the burning question: does a deal for McCaffrey make sense in Philly? The Eagles had interest in the dynamic back during the 2017 draft, but he was selected before the Eagles made their pick at #14.
McCaffrey is owed $44M over the next four seasons and carries a cap hit of $8.4M in 2022. The Eagles are projected to have around $14M in cap space next season and can free upwards of $30M with contract restructures — so in theory; they can afford him.
As a roster fit, the Eagles are probably better off without him. Amid speculation surrounding Miles Sanders’ future in Philadelphia, he’s still under contract for another season. Rookie running back Kenneth Gainwell has shown promise and possesses a similar Swiss Army skillset.
Investing in a player that has shown signs of deterioration would be counterproductive. The Eagles are ahead of schedule in their “rebuild’ and will likely be better served signing a veteran WR2 to complement DeVonta Smith.
Additionally, Philly’s offensive line has remained dominant regardless of who’s running behind them. Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Kenneth Gainwell have all been productive this season, showing that you don’t need a stud running back to be effective on the ground.
With the way the league chews up and spits out running backs — see LeVeon Bell — this is one deal that GM Howie Roseman should stay away from. Not to say that McCaffrey won’t return to the player he was in 2019, but the Eagles shouldn’t be the ones to take that risk.
For @NFLTotalAccess with #Eagles RB Miles Sanders, who had a career-high 131 yards rushing despite resting late in the game as he tries to manage his injuries, especially with another game in a little less than five days. pic.twitter.com/7rZQS3jnzU— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 22, 2021