The Highest Paid NFL Running Backs in 2020

By , Sports Radio WFNZ

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey became the latest NFL back to break the bank.

On Monday, the Panthers gave the 23-year old a four-year, $64 million contract extension to make him the highest-paid running back in league history, averaging $16 million per season. 

Running backs are known for having short primes due to the constant beatings they take on their bodies, but over the last few years, a handful of backs have received huge contracts.

It's very rare to see a team that wins the Super Bowl have a top running back. The last six champions have won with a running back committee. 

With McCaffrey set to remain in Carolina, here is a look at the top five running back salaries next season: 


1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (Signed a four-year, $64 million extension in 2020) - $16 million next season.

McCaffrey isn't just your normal tailback. He became the third running back ever last season to compile 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season. 

At age 23, McCaffrey has taken a huge workload the past two seasons, but with the ability to not only run but also receive, he could be utilized in different ways. 

McCaffrey has already broken the NFL records for the most receptions by a running back in his first three seasons and the most receptions by a RB in a single game and season. 


2. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (Signed a six-year, $90 million extension in 2019) - $15 million next season.

After holding out during the 2019 NFL preseason, the Cowboys awarded the 24-year old rushing leader with the largest running back contract in history at the time. 

The deal is worth $15 million per season, now making it the second-largest behind McCaffrey.

Elliott was the league's rushing leader in 2016 and 2018 but had a slight drop off following his extension. 

He had a career-low 4.5 yards per attempt and totaled 1,357 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns. 


3. Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets (Signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract extension in 2019) - $13.1 million next season.

Bell had a tough breakup with the Pittsburgh Steelers after holding out the entire 2018 season due to his contract demands. 

The Steelers never budged and he got his money, signing a deal with New York worth $13.1 million per year and having $27 million guaranteed. 

Bell, 28, had two rushing titles in his first four NFL seasons but after signing a new contract, he had career-lows in almost every category in a season in which he played 12 or more games. 

Rumors circulated that new head coach Adam Gase didn't want to give Bell the contract and he has reportedly been on the trade block since. 

David Johnson

4. David Johnson, Houston Texans (Signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018)- $13 million next season.

Johnson's contract remains one of the league's worst with two years remaining.

Johnson had a breakout season with the Cardinals his sophomore year in 2016, rushing for 1,239 yards and totaling 839 yards in the air, but he was limited to just one game in 2017 due to a wrist injury. 

Even after playing in just one game, Arizona rewarded Johnson with the contract in the offseason.

His numbers dropped off in 2018 and last season he was rarely used.


5. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Franchise tagged in 2020)- $10.2 million next season.

At 6-foot-3, Henry is one of the biggest tailbacks in the league and finally had a breakout season in 2019 that the Titans were hoping for. 

Henry, 26, led the league in rushing and now has back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons after not being fully utilized his first two years in the league.

Tennessee opted not to give Henry a big contract this offseason, and franchise tag him, but he will still be getting a good chunk of money as the fifth-highest running back next year. 

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