Remember when football writers proclaimed that Sam Darnold wasn’t the problem with the New York Jets?
It seems like he regressed with McCaffrey unable to play.
The five-year veteran running back from Stanford improved their winning odds because of his versatility.
He’s equally explosive in both the passing and the running game.
Christian McCaffrey has now missed 16 of the last 22 games… pic.twitter.com/Xj0JjBtA3V
— Cat Crave (@CatCraveBlog) October 15, 2021
Throughout his career, this second-generation NFL player has 3,346 rushing and 2,835 receiving yards.
In 2019, he also became the third player in NFL history to finish with 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
McCaffrey is a threat that every defensive player must keep an eye on all the time.
He can get open at the soft spots that linebackers left and catch throws for short to medium gains.
But the All-Pro back’s expertise is to dash through the line of scrimmage for massive runs.
Last 2.5 games have been miserable for the Panthers. No show against Cowboys in 2nd half, blew a game to Philly & yesterday teased a comeback against Minny. Run CMC out at least 2 more weeks as well. The good news? At 3-3 have the Giants & Falcons next 2 games. Need to win both.
— Zach Gelb (@ZachGelb) October 18, 2021
Unfortunately, the Panthers have had no answers every time he missed extensive time due to injuries.
Last season, Carolina was 1-2 when he suffered an ankle sprain.
He missed the remainder of the season, and the Panthers went 5-11.
This year, it’s McCaffrey’s hamstring that has caused him to miss some games.
Since then, the Panthers have been like superheroes devoid of their powers.
After starting the season with three wins, they haven’t won after McCaffrey went out.
me realizing that I could have drafted Derrick Henry in fantasy over Christian McCaffrey pic.twitter.com/CYDNO7WSex
— alex (@highlghtheaven) October 19, 2021
Their offense became more predictable because their primary option was gone.
Darnold can’t execute the plays that clicked from Weeks 1 to 3.
With two seasons of extensive injury time, will McCaffrey ever play an entire season again?
If he can’t, the Panthers are in for a long and disappointing campaign yet again.
Time To Move On From McCaffrey?
The Panthers are facing a major dilemma.
There’s no one like McCaffrey who effortlessly gains yards on the ground or via the air.
But should the Panthers start to contemplate life without him?
Unlike last season, McCaffrey will be able to play again in 2021.
However, Carolina will always be on the fence, waiting for his return.
Christian McCaffrey has played six games since 2019.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 16, 2021
When he does retake the field, will he have his full explosiveness back?
Hamstring injuries are tricky because they can heal one week and feel pain again the week after.
How much of the injury will linger every time he carries the ball?
There’s no doubt that they need him to string together more victories.
But the NFL is a business, and teams must cut their losses.
There might come a time when the Panthers will give up on him because he can’t stay healthy.
Unfortunately, that day won’t happen any time soon, given his contract extension.
— Christian McCaffrey (@CMC_22) September 10, 2021
He signed a four-year, $64 million extension that potentially makes him a Panther until 2025.
Carolina will still be willing to gamble on McCaffrey because he’s their offense, and they’re hopeless without him.
However, the partnership will abruptly end if his injuries continue to pile.
When that happens, the Panthers will consider him a lost cause.
If he doesn’t regain his form this season, the franchise will use the potential out in his contract after the 2022 season.
As painful that divorce would be, the Panthers could abandon their playoff hopes and start from scratch anew.