In July 2018, the Rams made Todd Gurley the highest-paid running back with a four-year, $60 million contract extension. The Rams got two seasons, 31 games, including the postseason, 2,268 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns before cutting Gurley.
The Cowboys signed Ezekiel Elliott to a six-year, $90 million extension that made him the highest-paid running back in the league last September. He had his worst 16-game season as a pro, and his four rushes over 20 yards raised questions about where his explosiveness went.
The Panthers defended Christian McCaffrey‘s four-year, $64 million extension that made him the league’s highest-paid running back in average annual salary by saying he is “more than just a running back.”
McCaffrey, though, is fine with being called a running back, bristling when asked to respond to critics who claim the position doesn’t matter much in the NFL.
“That’s an asinine statement,” McCaffrey said on 610 Sports Radio on Thursday. “When you look around the league and you look at what the running back position has meant to certain teams, I don’t know when that narrative started happening. It used to be the running back and quarterback position were the highest-tiered guys on the field. I look at guys that I looked up to, guys like Emmitt Smith, guys like LaDainian Tomlinson. Emmitt Smith, he played 12-plus years. These guys played long [careers] and were at the forefront of being the team’s most important player. So you look at what guys like Derrick Henry did in the [Titans’] playoff run.
“I don’t know when that narrative started happening. You see it so much now, and you look at some of the most explosive players in the league, and they are running backs. So to me, I just think it’s not a very educated statement.”
McCaffrey, 23, rushed for 1,387 yards and added 1,005 receiving yards, while scoring 19 total touchdowns last season.
Christian McCaffrey: It’s “asinine” to say running backs don’t matter originally appeared on Pro Football Talk