Christian McCaffrey

Carolina Panthers
Running Back #22
Carolina Panthers
Running Back #22
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Christian McCaffrey News

Participating in offseason program

McCaffrey (ankle) is participating in offseason workouts.

Analysis: It's another hint McCaffrey didn't have too much trouble this offseason with any of the various injuries that impacted his 2021 campaign. He played only 10 games over the past two years, but he does seem to be in good health at the moment, and he averaged 112.1 total yards and 5.4 catches per game last season despite exiting early with injuries in two of his seven appearances. Apart from health, the biggest concern for McCaffrey is poor QB play, as the Panthers are still in the process of trying to upgrade on Sam Darnold.

Apr 18, 2022 12:30 PM EST

Restructures deal with Carolina

McCaffrey (ankle) restructured his contract with the Panthers on Tuesday, opening up about $5.5 million in salary cap space for 2022, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: The Panthers wanted to free up some cap space to maintain their flexibility for the offseason, and McCaffrey was a natural candidate for restructure. The 25-year-old is coming off his second consecutive injury-riddled season, as he was limited to seven games in 2021 by hamstring and ankle injuries, and he totaled 99 carries for 442 yards and 37 receptions for 343 yards with two total touchdowns.

Mar 22, 2022 4:51 PM EST

Expected to remain with Panthers

Coach Matt Rhule said Monday that he "fully expects" McCaffrey (ankle) to remain with the Panthers for the 2022 season, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.

Analysis: McCaffrey topped 400 touches during the 2019 campaign but has missed extended time in each of the last two seasons due to injuries. He appeared in 10 games across the last two years and rushed 158 times for 667 yards and six touchdowns while catching 54 of 60 targets for 492 yards and two touchdowns during that time. The 25-year-old has been mentioned in some trade rumors recently, but it appears as though the Panthers are committed to bringing back their star running back in 2022.

Jan 10, 2022 10:35 AM EST

Shifts from COVID-19 list to IR

The Panthers removed McCaffrey (illness) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: McCaffrey already was ruled out for the season after landing on injured reserve for a second time, but he's back there following a positive test for the virus last Tuesday. Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah will continue to split the Panthers backfield between them for the rest of the campaign.

Dec 22, 2021 2:04 PM EST

Moves from IR to COVID-19 list

The Panthers moved McCaffrey (ankle) from injured reserve to the reserve/COVID-19 list after the running back tested positive for the virus Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: McCaffrey's season is over due to a second stint on IR, the result of an ankle issue, but he'll now stay away from the Panthers' facilities until he clears the league's COVID-19 protocols. In the meantime, the team will continue to roll with Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah out of the backfield.

Dec 14, 2021 12:03 PM EST

Ruled out for season

McCaffrey (ankle) was placed on injured reserve Monday and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Analysis: McCaffrey was unable to play in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Dolphins due to his ankle injury, and he'll be forced to miss the final five weeks of the regular season following an MRI on Monday. The 25-year-old was also sidelined for five weeks earlier in the regular season due to a hamstring injury, and he'll finish another injury-shortened season with 99 carries for 442 yards and a touchdown while hauling in 37 of 41 targets for 343 yards and a touchdown across seven appearances. Chuba Hubbard is in line for a starting role for the remainder of the 2021 campaign.

Nov 29, 2021 10:51 AM EST

X-rays negative

Initial X-rays on McCaffrey's injured ankle came back negative, David Newton of reports.

Analysis: Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that McCaffrey "rolled" his ankle and likely avoided a major injury, though the star running back missed the entire second half of Sunday's loss to the Dolphins (after briefly attempting a return in the second quarter). With Carolina on bye in Week 13, the early reports suggest McCaffrey at least has some shot to avoid an absence.

Nov 29, 2021 6:17 AM EST

Wearing walking boot postgame

McCaffrey rolled his left ankle in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins, according to Joe Person of The Athletic. He was spotted wearing a walking boot after the game, according to Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Analysis: McCaffrey injured his ankle and briefly re-entered the game, but he did not finish the contest. The extent of his injury is not yet certain, but the Panthers are on bye next week, so he will have an extra week to recover. Chuba Hubbard will be the next man up if McCaffrey winds up missing any further time.

Nov 28, 2021 1:30 PM EST

Scores in close loss

McCaffrey rushed 10 times for 59 yards and caught seven of eight targets for 60 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 27-21 loss to Washington.

Analysis: McCaffrey tied the game with a leaping, 27-yard touchdown grab to begin the fourth quarter, his first score since Week 2. The tailback has hauled in at least seven passes in both of his outings since returning from injury, again leading the Panthers through the air Sunday. Although quarterback Cam Newton tied McCaffrey with 10 carries, going for 46 yards and a touchdown, McCaffrey still was efficient with his workload, making for another strong all-around showing. Next up for McCaffrey is a favorable matchup against the Dolphins in Week 12.

Nov 21, 2021 1:14 PM EST

Sidesteps injury report

McCaffrey (hamstring) wasn't listed on the Panthers' first practice report of Week 11 on Wednesday.

Analysis: McCaffrey sat out Weeks 4-8 due to a hamstring injury, but since returning to action Week 9, he's looked like himself against two viable defensive fronts in the Patriots and Cardinals. In those two contests, he notched 27 carries for 147 yards and 14 catches (on 15 targets) for 120 yards. This past Sunday in Arizona, McCaffrey was seen working on his right hamstring on the sidelines at one point, but whatever issue he may have been dealing with didn't impact his activity level Wednesday. He's thus good to go as he prepares for Sunday's game against a Washington defense that has surrendered 105.9 yards from scrimmage per game and 12 touchdowns to running backs in nine contests this season.

Nov 17, 2021 3:23 PM EST

Produces despite second-half inactivity

McCaffrey rushed 13 times for 95 yards and caught all 10 of his targets for 66 yards in Sunday's 34-10 win over the Cardinals.

Analysis: McCaffrey got it rolling early, consistently gashing Arizona in the running game. He also led Carolina with seven first-half catches, racking up nearly 130 scrimmage yards by halftime. However, to begin the third quarter, McCaffrey made a brief visit to the Panthers' medical tent and totaled just six touches during the second half. Although the Panthers' comfortable lead afforded them to be cautious with McCaffrey, the tailback was concerningly seen working on his right hamstring while sidelined, Will Kunkel of FOX Charlotte reports. Despite his low second-half usage, McCaffrey still almost out-gained the Cardinals by himself, making for a productive showing overall. Considering he just returned last week after missing five games due to a hamstring injury, though, any reoccurrence would certainly be an unwelcomed development. As a result, his status should be closely tracked in the coming days. Should McCaffrey be limited at all going forward, Chuba Hubbard would figure to benefit once again, with veteran Ameer Abdullah the next tailback on the depth chart.

Nov 14, 2021 4:33 PM EST

Tops 100 scrimmage yards in return

McCaffrey rushed 14 times for 52 yards and caught four of five targets for 54 yards in Sunday's 24-6 loss to the Patriots.

Analysis: McCaffrey, making his first appearance since straining his hamstring in Week 3, contributed most as a receiver with the Panthers trailing in the second half. With consecutive catches of 21, 19 and 17 yards on the same drive, McCaffrey surpassed 100 scrimmage yards in his return to action, compensating for an uninspiring outing on the ground. Although Carolina kept backups Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah involved, combining for 66 yards on their nine touches, McCaffrey was comfortably his team's most productive offensive player, leading it in receiving despite quarterback Sam Darnold's recent struggles continuing. As coordinator Joe Brady desperately hopes to improve his unit, look for McCaffrey to garner another healthy workload in Week 10 versus the Cardinals.

Nov 7, 2021 1:04 PM EST

Returning to action Week 9

McCaffrey (hamstring) is listed as active Sunday versus the Patriots, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: The Panthers signaled McCaffrey would be making his return to action Week 9 by activating him from injured reserve Saturday. But there's a chance he won't log his typical voluminous snap and touch counts as he eases into it after straining his hamstring back in Week 3. In the event his reps are capped, McCaffrey will share the load with No. 2 running back Chuba Hubbard, who averaged 20.4 touches per game during McCaffrey's five-game absence, and Ameer Abdullah.

Nov 7, 2021 8:41 AM EST

Off IR, but Sunday status TBD

Though McCaffrey (hamstring) has been activated off IR by the Panthers, he'll be evaluated by the team's staff Sunday morning to determine his Week 9 status, ESPN's David Newton reports.

Analysis: Assuming no pre-game setbacks, McCaffrey thus has a chance to return from his five-game absence, but in the event that he does play, Newton suggests that the star running back would likely be on some sort of a snap count, with Chuba Hubbard, Royce Freeman and Ameer Abdullah also candidates to mix in. Either way, McCaffrey's availability will be clarified prior to the first wave of games Sunday, with the Panthers kicking off against the Patriots at 1:00 ET.

Nov 6, 2021 3:44 PM EST

Comes off IR

McCaffrey (hamstring) was activated off injured reserve Saturday and will be eligible to play Sunday against the Patriots.

Analysis: The Panthers had remained hopeful throughout the week McCaffrey would make his long-awaited return to the active roster so this is obviously fantastic news and removes any ambiguity regarding his status moving forward. It's unclear if the star running back will immediately get his full workload, especially considering coach Matt Rhule was uncertain McCaffrey would even be available for Sunday's matchup. Backup Chuba Hubbard has put together an admirable performance in replace of the multi-talented McCaffrey over the last five weeks, to the point where it's possible a more defined workload split could emerge in subsequent games.

Nov 6, 2021 1:08 PM EST

Week 9 status to be decided Saturday

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said McCaffrey (hamstring) will be re-evaluated Saturday before a determination is made whether the running back is reinstated from injured reserve ahead of Sunday's game against the Patriots, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Rhule noted that he's "hopeful" McCaffrey will play this week, after the running back returned to practice Wednesday and was on the field for each of the last three days. Because McCaffrey isn't officially a member of the 53-man roster, the Panthers don't have to disclose the extent of his involvement in practice, though Rhule told the media that the 25-year-old was a limited participant Wednesday. Fantasy managers for both McCaffrey and his primary replacement the past five weeks -- rookie Chuba Hubbard -- should have more clarity on what Carolina's Week 9 backfield will look like by 4 p.m. ET Saturday, the deadline for the Panthers to add McCaffrey back to the roster in order for him to be eligible to play Sunday.

Nov 5, 2021 10:22 AM EST

Deemed 'limited' in practice return

Carolina head coach Matt Rhule classified McCaffrey (hamstring) as a limited participant at Wednesday's practice, David Newton of reports. "I would probably say he was pretty limited, not a ton of plays," Rhule said, when asked about the extent of McCaffrey's activity. "Just trying to begin the process of working him back. We'll see how he looks [Thursday] in terms of this weekend and his availability. See how he responds to this, but no setbacks."

Analysis: The Panthers officially designated McCaffrey for a return from injured reserve Wednesday, but because he hasn't been reinstated to the 53-man roster, the team doesn't have to include him on its Week 9 injury report. Rhule at least helped give fantasy managers an idea of where McCaffrey stands in his recovery by labeling him as a limited participant in his first practice since aggravating the injury in a Week 6 workout, after he initially tweaked his hamstring in the team's Week 3 win over the Texans. Carolina isn't ruling McCaffrey out from putting an end to his five-game absence Sunday against New England, but the star running back will presumably need to increase his practice activity the next two days to have a realistic shot at making that a reality. McCaffrey's return to practice Wednesday opened a 21-day window for Carolina to either bring him back from IR or shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Nov 3, 2021 1:08 PM EST

Slated to practice this week

McCaffrey (hamstring) has been designated to return from injured reserve, Darin Gantt of the Panthers' official site reports.

Analysis: As a result, the Panthers have a 21-day window in which to activate McCaffrey or leave him on IR, but assuming no setbacks, they would no doubt love to see the star running back return to the lineup as soon as possible. With that in mind, McCaffrey will be monitored at practice this week to see if he's an option to return to action Sunday against the Patriots. Chuba Hubbard has been filling in as the team's lead back in McCaffrey's absence, but would presumably move into a complementary role in the event that McCaffrey is cleared for Week 9 action.

Nov 3, 2021 8:53 AM EST

Plans to practice Wednesday

Coach Matt Rhule said Monday that he expects McCaffrey (hamstring) to practice Wednesday, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: "Hopefully we can get [McCaffrey] back soon," Rhule said. "If it's not this week, hopefully it will be next week." If McCaffrey is indeed able to log at least a limited session Wednesday, it will represent a notable step in the right direction. The star running back still has yet to officially be designated for a return from IR, and he's now missed five straight games due to his strained hamstring. Wednesday's first official practice report of the week stands to bring an update on McCaffrey's recovery progress.

Nov 1, 2021 9:22 AM EST

On track for Week 9

McCaffrey (hamstring) remains on target to return from injured reserve ahead of the Panthers' Week 9 game against the Patriots on Nov. 7, David Newton of reports.

Analysis: Considering McCaffrey hasn't practiced in even a limited fashion since Oct. 13, the Panthers will likely want to see how the running back looks throughout Week 9 prep before signing off on him playing against New England. Assuming he endures no further setbacks with his strained hamstring and is designated to return from IR on Wednesday or Thursday, McCaffrey should put himself in good position to reclaim lead duties Week 9. While McCaffrey has been sidelined each of the past four games, Chuba Hubbard has stepped in as the team's lead back and has averaged 61.7 rushing yards and 19.8 receiving yards per contest while finding the end zone only once. Hubbard will be in store for another start Sunday against the Falcons.

Oct 31, 2021 9:29 AM EST

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