In a time where the running back community changes year after year, there is one thing for certain: the running back is imperative to the team’s success. 

Guys like Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliot have proven over the last few years that teams can do some damage to the scoreboard with the halfback lined up behind the QB or even as a wideout. However, in the last three years, there has been one man in Carolina who has proven to be a once in a generation type of dual threat RB – Christian McCaffrey. 

The 23 year old out of Stanford University has been putting up video game numbers in his first three years, and last year he performed so well that his name was thrown into the MVP mix. McCaffrey became the first halfback to run for 1,000 yards and catch 1,000 yards in a season. His three year career consists of 2,920 yards on the ground, and 2,523 yards in the air, totaling for 39 touchdowns. 

All that productivity finally came to fruition, as yesterday the running back signed a four-year extension, worth $16 million per season. This deal made him the highest paid running back in NFL history. 


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While there is rarely a guy who comes along like McCaffrey, who can catch just as well as he runs, the recent receipt for running backs proves that giving a big chunk of change to the man in the backfield often does not pay off. 

When you look at some of the biggest names to sign big deals in recent years, guys like Elliot, Bell and Gurley have showed that the return for these organizations is not always what you think it will be. Elliot held out, until he signed a six year, $90 million deal with the Cowboys. That next season, he had his lowest yards/game stat line in his four year career. By no means was Elliot bad last year, but that is certainly a red flag to start. Jets star Le’Veon Bell also followed the trend by holding out after a second franchise tag from the Steelers, and went on to post career lows in almost every stat line for his first year in the green and white. Gurley’s situation was a bit more focused on his knee problems, however, it was quite a surprise to see him cut after two years of a four year, $57.5 million deal with the Rams. The Rams cut him this offseason and took a massive $20.15 million cap hit, after his playing time was slashed in 2018 and his poor performances of the 2019 season. All this after putting up extraordinary numbers in 2017. 

This is not to say that McCaffrey will follow in these footsteps of RB juggernauts before him, and that’s because he isn’t like any of those guys. He’s quicker, more agile, and he can truly catch the ball like a slot receiver. The only thing 22 has to prove is that he can continue his 2019 momentum into 2020 and show that the “highest paid running back ever” money was truly worth it.

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