ESPN's David Newton believes RB Mike Davis "might have the edge" for the Panthers' #2 RB job. His competition is Reggie Bonnafon and Jordan Scarlett. The battle is irrelevant as long as RB Christian McCaffrey is healthy, of course. We wouldn't bother spending a pick to "handcuff" CMC at this point.
The Panthers and RB Christian McCaffrey have agreed to a 4-year, $64 million extension. That $16 million average annual salary makes CMC the league's highest-paid RB, edging out Ezekiel Elliott by a mill. Analytics folks will tell you Carolina is over-paying here (and they might be right). But at least McCaffrey is the rare RB that's dominant in both the running and passing games. He's now signed with the Panthers through the 2025 season, when he'll be 29 years old.
The Panthers have named Joe Brady their new OC. It's been a rapid rise for the 30-year-old, who spent 2017 and 2018 as an offensive assistant under Sean Payton in New Orleans and this past year as LSU's passing game coordinator. Brady won the 2019 Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football and was given a lot of credit for QB Joe Burrow's massive 5,671-yard, 60-TD campaign. It's an exciting -- albeit risky -- hire by the Panthers.
The Panthers are hiring Matt Rhule as their new HC, Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reports. Rhule has been a hot name in coaching circles after he led a 1-11 Baylor team in his first season to a combined 18-9 record over the past 2 years. He spent 4 seasons as Temple's HC prior to that and also has 1 year of experience as the Giants' assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin. Rhule's Baylor squads ranked 25th, 19th and 43rd in the nation in passing yards per game.
The Panthers have fired HC Ron Rivera. He's been with Carolina since 2011, compiling a 76-63-1 record with 4 playoff appearances. But the Panthers went 7-9 last year and are currently sitting at 5-7. Secondary coach Perry Fewell will take over as interim head coach, OC Norv Turner will move into an assistant role and QB coach Scott Turner will serve as OC for the final 4 games of the season. We're not expecting any tangible fantasy impacts from the moves.
The Panthers claimed RB Mike Davis off waivers. He's obviously no threat to Christian McCaffrey, but Davis might be the favorite for touches over Reggie Bonnafon if McCaffrey goes down.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (back) isn't listed on the final Week 6 injury report. He didn't practice on Wednesday, but HC Ron Rivera said that giving CMC Wednesdays off will be the norm going forward. He put in full workouts on Thursday and Friday. Expect McCaffrey to play his usual workhorse role in London on Sunday morning.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera said that RB Christian McCaffrey's back is "a little sore" but that he's "doing just fine." CMC sat out Wednesday's practice, but Rivera said that'll be the new normal going forward. It's a smart move by the Panthers considering they've fed McCaffrey 27.2 touches per game. He remains a locked-in RB1 for Sunday's game against the Bucs.
Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey missed Wednesday's practice and was listed on the injury report with a back. He was sidelined late in last week's win over the Jaguars with what was reported as cramps, but it looks like there might be more to it. We'll get another update on CMC tomorrow. RB Reggie Bonnafon is his handcuff.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera suggested that he'll consider limiting RB Christian McCaffrey's workload in this weekend's finale, saying "we need to be smart." There was no sign of that in Week 16, with CMC playing 90% of the snaps, carrying 21 times and seeing 13 targets. We'll keep an eye on the situation the rest of the week.
The Panthers are shutting down QB Cam Newton for the rest of the season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a smart move by Carolina. Newton's shoulder has obviously become a bigger problem over the past few weeks, and the Panthers are all but eliminated from the playoff picture. We'll see if Newton needs another surgery on that shoulder or if some rest will get him back to 100%. His absence will leave Taylor Heinicke as Carolina's starter for the last 2 weeks. Undrafted out of Old Dominion back in 2015, Heinicke has attempted just 5 regular-season NFL passes. He's not a Week 16 fantasy option and is a downgrade for all of Carolina's skill-position guys. RB Christian McCaffrey is the only reliable fantasy play on the team.
The Panthers released RB C.J. Anderson. After inking a 1-year, $1.75 million deal in May, Anderson carried just 24 times in 9 appearances with Carolina. His departure leaves RB Cameron Artis-Payne as Christian McCaffrey's backup.
The Panthers announced that TE Greg Olsen re-broke his right foot and is considered "month-to-month," although he surprisingly isn't having surgery. Olsen missed 9 total games with the same injury last year -- 8 to start and then 1 more after aggravating the issue. Expect him to be out at least that long this time around. Olsen is droppable in redraft leagues. His absence leaves 4th-round rookie Ian Thomas as Carolina's primary pass-catching TE. The Indiana product boasts a 91st percentile SPARQ score and posted a 3-37-1 line this preseason. He's worth an add in TE-premium leagues like the FFPC. WR Devin Funchess and RB Christian McCaffrey should also see more targets with Olsen sidelined.
For the 2nd straight preseason game, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey saw feature-back usage on Friday night. He handled 10 of the 13 RB opportunities (carries + targets) with QB Cam Newton and the 1st-team offense. The other 3 went to C.J. Anderson. McCaffrey finished with 92 yards on 5 carries -- highlighted by this 71-yard TD -- and 28 more yards on 4 catches. He's now played 28 of 35 first-team snaps (80%) through 2 preseason games. This all follows both HC Ron Rivera and OC Norv Turner talking up McCaffrey's workload this year. While we're not expecting him to be a 300-carry guy, it looks like he's set for a big increase over last year's 117 attempts. We just moved McCaffrey up the RB rankings.
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