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Report: Christian McCaffrey set to become highest-paid running back in NFL

Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey agreed to a four-year contract extension. The top fantasy option in 2019 is back for more.

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey leaves the field after the game at Bank of America Stadium. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey put together a monster 2019 season, and he is about to be rewarded for it. McCaffrey has signed a four-year contract extension worth $16 million per year, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal makes him the highest paid running back in NFL history on a per year basis, surpassing Ezekiel Elliott by $1 million.

McCaffrey finished the 2019 season with 1,387 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, to go along with 116 receptions for 1,005 yards and four receiving touchdowns. It resulted in him ranking as the No. 2 overall player in standard fantasy football leagues and the No. 1 overall player in PPR fantasy football leagues. Considering Lamar Jackson’s season, that’s a ridiculous impressive feat for McCaffrey.

This all came even as Carolina had a bad quarterback situation after Cam Newton got hurt. Kyle Allen and Will Grier were not sufficiently help, and the team has now moved on to Teddy Bridgewater — signed to a three year deal in free agency. It’s an upgrade over Allen and Grier, but it remains to be seen how Bridgewater will compare to a healthy Newton.

The Panthers have had a busy offseason. They traded guard Trai Turner for tackle Russell Okung, which seems like somewhat of a downgrade to the offensive line. On the other hand, they signed wide receiver Robby Anderson, which is an upgrade to their pass catching situation.

It seems unlikely McCaffrey matches his numbers from last season, but he will be a quality RB1 and a worthwhile option for No. 1 overall in fantasy drafts. His best value remains in PPR leagues, but he’s proving to be a great standard option as well. If you have the No. 1 overall pick, he’s worth strong consideration. He’s not a lock to finish the season as the top performing back, but he’s a strong bet to finish the season with a first round-worthy season.