The Carolina Panthers lost one of their best players, Christian McCaffrey, to injury during the early goings of the 2020 NFL season, and the team endured a year to forget as a result. The Panthers finished third in the NFC South with a 5-11 record. Despite that, the future does look bright for head coach Matt Rhule's team.
The Panthers focused last season's NFL draft efforts on overhauling an aging defensive unit. Safety Jeremy Chinn had a promising first year and finished with the second-most snaps of any rookie in the NFL last season. First-round pick Derrick Brown and second-round pick Yetur Gross-Mattos are both expected to kick on during their sophomore campaigns, too.
Add to this the fearsome trifecta at wideout: Curtis Samuel, Robby Anderson, and D.J. Moore, and the return to fitness of Christian McCaffrey, and you can see why Carolina fans sense success is just on the horizon.
Another reason, the Panthers are in fine fettle heading into the 2021 season is the $29 million in cap room available for the team to work with during the offseason. But that's not to say there aren't any major earners already on the books down in Carolina. Like all NFL teams, the Panthers have several premier stars raking in the big bucks. But who is the team's highest-paid player?
NFL: Who is the highest-paid Carolina Panthers player?
As with most NFL teams, the highest-paid player currently on the books for the Carolina Panthers is the team's quarterback, in this case, Teddy Bridgewater.
Following the release of Carolina legend Cam Newton, Bridgewater signed on during the 2020 offseason as a free agent following his release by the New Orleans Saints. The former University of Louisville star penned a three-year deal worth a staggering $63 million. In 2020, Bridgewater received a hefty sum of $21 million, and he stands to earn the same in 2021 and 2022.
Bridgewater threw for 3,773 yards and 15 TDs in 2020 but will need to cut down on interceptions (11 last year) if he is to see out that contract in Carolina. Speculation regarding his future is already beginning to mount...
NFL: How much does Christian McCaffrey earn at the Carolina Panthers?
Of all the players currently under contract with the Panthers, running back sensation Christian McCaffrey is the man who stands to earn the most money overall.
McCaffrey agreed to a four-year contract extension during the 2020 offseason, averaging $16 million per year, which makes him the highest-paid running back in NFL history.
Since McCaffrey is under contract until the end of the 2025 season, he stands to make more money than anyone else on the Panthers roster at present, including the aforementioned Teddy Bridgewater.