NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that the running back took increased snaps as a slot receiver at practice this week and could help make up for lack of depth outside.
After trading Kelvin Benjamin and seeing Samuel suffer a season-ending ankle injury, Carolina is left with one of the thinnest receiving corps in the NFL. Devin Funchess leads the way with Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay and Brenton Bersin rounding out the receivers. Getting tight end Greg Olsen back this week will be a big boon for Cam Newton.
McCaffrey has seen 68 snaps in the slot thus far this season (15 percent of his total snaps), with an additional 39 out wide (9 percent), per Next Gen Stats. Utilizing the running back as a slot weapon makes sense. McCaffrey leads the Panthers with 57 receptions (10th most in the NFL).
With Jonathan Stewart coming off his best game of the season, utilizing McCaffrey in the slot would allow the Panthers to get two running backs on the field. Given their lack of receiver options, expect Carolina to use a bevy of two tight end formations and multiple running back sets Sunday against the New York Jets.