Both Panthers fans and fantasy football owners can rejoice. Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is participating in offseason workouts, a glaring sign that the sixth-year tailback is approaching full health.
Considering McCaffrey has been limited to just 10 games the last two seasons, this is a really big deal. When active, he’s arguably the most explosive player in the entire National Football League, proving such once again last year when he compiled more than 100 yards from scrimmage per game in seven contests.
To put into perspective how special that is, only three other players in the league last season — Jonathan Taylor, Cooper Kupp, and Deebo Samuel — were able to top that prestigious 100-yard plateau on a weekly basis. McCaffrey also accomplished this feat in 2018 and 2019 while playing in every game.
For more stories, like this Christian McCaffrey article, check out our NFL news articles
With McCaffrey on the sidelines, Carolina was forced to lean on rookie Chuba Hubbard often in the backfield. The team also added D’Onta Foreman earlier this offseason as extra insurance should McCaffrey go down once again.
Either way, it’ll likely be quarterback play that determines the Panthers’ fate next season. Despite a promising start, quarterback Sam Darnold mostly struggled the rest of the way — with injuries playing a sizable role in that — as Carolina averaged just 18 points per game in his 11 starts. Old friend Cam Newton was also brought into the fray but didn’t really provide any better results overall.
So long as McCaffrey can stay healthy in 2022, he’ll resume being the legitimate force he’s always been, including his three years at Stanford before arriving in the NFL. However, if the Panthers can’t solve their QB woes, they’re not going anywhere.