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Panthers’ thought process on making Christian McCaffrey highest-paid RB

Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney has revealed his thought process on making Christian McCaffrey the highest-paid running back in the NFL.

McCaffrey signed a four-year extension with the Panthers that includes over $38 million in guaranteed money. McCaffrey’s deal included a $21 million dollar signing bonus.

In an interview with Joseph Person of The Athletic, Hurney said it was pretty simple why the Panthers made him the highest-paid running back in the league, and it had to do with his versatility:

You hit the word correctly when you said versatility. Christian’s ability and his performance as a receiver is very unique to the running back position, as you can see by the 1,000-1,000 marks that he surpassed last year. He really is a different type of running back at the position than maybe we would’ve thought of three, five, 10 years ago because of his ability to create mismatches as a receiver, his ability to run between the tackles, his ability to make big plays. He really is a combination running back/wide receiver. All those things led to us — and as you said, his ability as a leader, the type of commitment that he shows, the type of person that he is, the way he comes every day to get better — all those things went into play.

During the 2019 season, McCaffrey rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four touchdowns.

Of course, $38 million guaranteed is a lot of money to spend on a running back, especially in today’s NFL. But with how versatile McCaffrey is, the Panthers really had no issue.

Letting him walk, might have been the most regrettable decision in franchise history.