Panthers Trade Christian McCaffrey to 49ers in Blockbuster Move

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Christian McCaffrey is heading back to where he made his name. The San Francisco 49ers have reportedly acquired the former Stanford standout from the Carolina Panthers.

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, Carolina will receive second, third and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-round pick in 2024 in exchange for McCaffrey. Per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the 49ers owe McCaffrey just $690,000 for the remainder of the 2022 season. McCaffrey is scheduled to fly to San Francisco Friday to begin the process of learning the new playbook. The 49ers (3-3) outbid their NFC West divisional rivals in the Los Angeles Rams (3-3), who were reportedly in discussions for McCaffrey along with San Francisco.

McCaffrey, 26, is one of the best running backs in the NFL when healthy. Healthy is the key term, as he has only suited up in 16 games since 2020. The 2019 All-Pro selection has been fit through six games this season, racking up 670 total yards and three touchdowns.

The 49ers had a need in their backfield with Elijah Mitchell (knee) on injured reserve. Jeff Wilson Jr. has filled in since Mitchell’s injury in Week 1 and rushed for 400 yards on 4.9 yards per carry and two scores. McCaffrey, however, brings a receiving element in the table. McCaffrey has twice surpassed 100 catches in a single-season and once reached the 1,000-yard receiving plateau in his career.

The Tank is On For Panthers After Trading Christian McCaffrey

The fire sale is officially in business over in Carolina, which has undergone major change within the past couple of weeks. It started with head coach Matt Rhule, who was fired after two-plus seasons on Oct. 10 after a 1-4 start to the season.

The Panthers (1-5) traded receiver Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals Monday. The move came less than 24 hours after interim head coach Steve Wilks kicked him out of Sunday’s Week 6 game against the Rams. Anderson got into a shouting match with Panthers receiving coach Joe Dailey on multiple occasions, before Wilks stepped in and sent Anderson to the locker room during the third quarter.

Carolina is likely to make more moves ahead of the Nov. 1 trade deadline. D.J. Moore, the Panthers’ No. 1 receiver, could potentially be next. Moore, 25, has recorded three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. This season, however, he has hauled in just 20 receptions for 204 yards and one touchdown as Carolina’s quarterback situation remains in flux.