As Charlotte, North Carolina’s post-Matt Rhule era develops, Christian McCaffrey now resides in a new place. McCaffrey was just purchased by the San Francisco 49ers from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for four draught picks. These are the picks in the second, third, and fourth rounds of 2023, as well as a pick in the fifth round of 2024. Here, we’ll try to analyse how this move will affect these two franchises.
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Following the firing of former head coach Matt Rhule, the Panthers have kept up their fire sale. The franchise has already traded wide receiver Robby Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals and has just sent running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, who are located in the far west. The revelation was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Remember that the Panthers selected Stanford’s McCaffrey eighth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. With 403 carries, 2,392 yards from scrimmage, and 19 total touchdowns in 2019, he set league records. He was Second-team All-Pro the year before and First-team All-Pro that year.
Without a doubt, McCaffrey has been among the league’s most prolific running backs, both on the ground and in the air. When he has been able to enter the field, that is. Another thing to bear in mind is that he missed more games due to injury in the following two seasons than he actually played in—13 in 2020 and 10 in 2021.
Christian McCaffrey, however, has been comparatively healthy this season. In fact, he has participated in each of the Panthers’ six games thus far this year. On 85 attempts thus far, he has racked up 393 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, he has 33 receptions for 277 yards and another score.
Remember that McCaffrey agreed to a four-year, $64 million contract with the Panthers on April 16, 2020. In 2023, 2024, and 2025, his salary cap hits will rise to $19,550,750 and $15,450,750, respectively. The 49ers should keep that in mind as they move forward.
Here are the 49ers and Panthers’ grades for this trade:
The 49ers previously gave up their 2023 first-round pick to Miami in the trades that resulted in the drafting of quarterback Trey Lance. Following the McCaffrey deal, the team now only has three third-round compensatory picks that were given to it by the NFL as part of a scheme that rewarded companies that hired minority general managers and head coaches. They are now-Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, now-Jets head coach Robert Saleh, and now-Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew.
The 49ers have virtually no remaining draught stock, so they are essentially gambling on this season and the following two. The move appears frantic from a field perspective. With Lance gone and the 49ers floundering under Jimmy Garoppolo’s leadership, it was clear that they were not in position to make a Super Bowl push. Christian McCaffrey, though, doesn’t seem to be the piece that this offence is missing.
On the other hand, the 49ers’ front office didn’t just sit back and celebrate its success. They took action, and their fan base ought to acknowledge at least that. Who knows if CMC plays at or close to All-Pro levels once more? This might turn out to be the season’s biggest coup.
However, this most likely doesn’t have a significant impact on the 49ers. Keep in mind that this club has won two games and lost two since Lance’s fatal injury ended his season. Together with three other teams, they share first place in the NFC West. They took this decision by betting on CMC’s potential growth. With Ws, we’ll see if it’s worthwhile.
The Panthers have a total makeover underway. If there was any lingering doubt about that before today, this virtually proves it. They have essentially declared victory for the remainder of the season and are looking forward to the fresh talent of the upcoming years.
The Panthers will probably alternate D’Onta Foreman, Chuba Hubbard, and Raheem Blackshear in the backfield for the remainder of the season. Foreman, the most seasoned of the three, will probably be the starting running back. He hasn’t played well yet this season, though. He just completed a 19-yard attempt in Week 6 against the Rams.
Going back to Christian McCaffrey, receiving a few selections feels like a pretty good return for the Panthers when you take into account his talent, contract, and age. Even though two top-100 picks and a few day-three picks don’t look as polished as first-round picks, this should assist the team’s depth. They might even find a diamond (or two) in the rough if they make the correct choices.
Since CMC has always appeared like a true favourite in Charlotte, we are a little sad for the Panthers supporters. They’ll remember him fondly, for sure. But this is the way professional football actually works. Since it’s a company, both sides should have parted ways at this point.
Grading the deal between the 49ers and Panthers for Christian McCaffrey originally appeared on ClutchPoints.