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Stunner: 49ers trade for McCaffrey from Panthers

/ by Taylor Wirth
Presented By NISSAN-NFL
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Christian McCaffrey

The 49ers have a new offensive weapon. 

The Carolina Panthers announced on Thursday that star running back Christian McCaffrey had been traded to San Francisco

San Francisco was rumored to be one of the team's interested in acquiring McCaffrey prior to the NFL's Nov. 1 trade deadline and have made the splash.  

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport provided the terms of the deal, which includes the 49ers sending 2023 second, third and fourth-round picks plus a fifth-round pick in 2024 in exchange for McCaffrey. 

McCaffrey is scheduled to fly to San Francisco on Friday where he’ll meet the team and learn the playbook, according to Rapoport, and looks likely to suit up in the red and gold against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

McCaffrey, who turned 26 in June, is starting the first year of a four-year, $64 million deal that will make him an unrestricted free agent in 2026 at 30 years old, according to Spotrac.

The running back position on the 49ers’ depth chart has been severely hampered by injuries, which can be said for most positions given their injury report, but with Elijah Mitchell out and former third-round pick Trey Sermon being moved on from, it’s been iffy at best.

Fifth-year veteran Jeff Wilson Jr. has stepped up to start with Tevin Coleman returning to the team after being a key piece in 2019 and 2020. San Francisco drafted Tyrion Davis-Price out of LSU in the third round in 2022, but he has only logged 14 carries for 33 yards in two games.

 

McCaffrey, a Stanford product, earned Second Team All-Pro honors in 2018 and First Team All-Pro honors in 2019 following two standout seasons as a do-it-all back in Carolina, but his career has been derailed by injuries since.

However, when healthy, there’s no denying his qualities and fit in Shanahan’s system. In 2019, when he also made the Pro Bowl, McCaffrey led all running backs in yards after catch with 860, nearly 100 more than Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, the next highest in the category.

Add McCaffrey to a core that includes Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk, the infamous “YAC Bros” triumvirate, and there’s plenty of potential for the 49ers’ offense to pick up steam if they can get healthy.

In Carolina’s 37-15 Week 5 loss to the 49ers, McCaffrey posted 14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown to go with 12 catches for 50 yards. On the season he has 85 carries for 393 yards and two touchdowns and 43 catches for 277 yards and one touchdown.

Next up for San Francisco is a home game against the Chiefs in a rematch of Super Bowl LIV on Sunday at 1:25 p.m. PT. Having McCaffrey available could bolster the 49ers’ odds as Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. look to turn things around after a disappointing loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6.