This does not mean that interest is not coming. The groups asked about the expansion DJ Moore and edge pushers Brian Burns, by Albert Breer of SI.com. The Panthers have not shown a willingness to part ways with either starter, Breer added, but these two names have generated the most interest so far.
Additionally, the Bills have not yet contacted the Panthers about McCaffrey’s availability, Howe noted. Run by former Carolina employees Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott, Buffalo has acquired many Panthers in the past. But a move to hit $16 million per year back, months after the draft James Cook in the second round, maybe a bridge too far for now.
Carolina just renewed Moore – on a three-year, $61.88 million deal – and has expressed a desire to pay Burns, who will enter his fifth-year option season in 2023. Both players were acquired prior to Rhule’s arrival, although the HC since sacking has been signed on by extension by Rhule. Moore this March. Neither Steve Wilks nor new Panthers defensive player Al Holcomb was given when either player was drafted. Ditto GM Scott Fitterer. But it would still be surprising to see Carolina tackle two mid-20s platforms this season. Doing so would indeed signal David Tepper would sign a contract for a full-scale rebuild.
McCaffrey is now healthy, marking his longest tenure in the 2020s. Injuries have curtailed the former top 10 player’s career following his dominant 2019 season – one that has plagued him. he has to renew the still-market-leading contract he signed in April 2020 – but his sixth year back is clearly still one of the Panthers’ best players. McCaffrey, 26, fell short of his 2019 pace (2,392 yards from script), posting only 512 meters of script in five games. But his health has certainly brought better news than his previous two seasons – when the second-generation professional missed 23 games.
The team restructured McCaffrey’s deal, reducing his 2022 base salary to just $1 million, and listen to commercial inquiries this holiday season. Given McCaffrey’s health history, the team’s willingness to do a deal and the type of offer that comes with it will be interesting as the deadline approaches. However, for now, the Panthers are pretty close to CMC. McCaffrey’s contract has three more seasons left. His salary skyrocketed to $11.8 million (in 2023 and 24) and $12 million (in 2025).