The San Francisco 49ers value the running game as much as any team in the NFL, and they got one of the best running backs in the league on Thursday night.
The Carolina Panthers traded McCaffrey to the 49ers, as reported by Yahoo Sports' Jori Epstein.
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) October 21, 2022
It won't come cheap. The 49ers are giving up four picks to the Panthers, though no first-rounder, according to NFL Network.
-- The #49ers get star RB Christian McCaffrey.
-- The #Panthers get a 2nd round pick in 2023, a third-rounder in 2023, and a fourth-round pick in 2023. Plus, a fifth-rounder in 2024.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 21, 2022
The Panthers confirmed the trade later on Thursday night.
McCaffrey should be a great fit for Kyle Shanahan's offense in San Francisco. The 49ers were thin at running back after losing Elijah Mitchell to an injury in Week 1. Jeff Wilson Jr. did a solid job replacing Mitchell, but McCaffrey will add an entirely new element to the 49ers' offense.
McCaffrey will join an offense with standouts like tight end George Kittle and receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. That's a lot for Shanahan to work with. Being on a better offense should also make McCaffrey even more valuable in fantasy football.
McCaffrey grew up in Colorado, but the move to the 49ers is a bit of a homecoming. He was a star at nearby Stanford. He was the eighth pick of the 2017 NFL draft after his stellar college career, and was an immediate star in the NFL too. McCaffrey led the NFL with 2,392 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns in 2019. He became one of the best all-around talents at the position. He caught 223 passes out of the backfield in 2018 and 2019 combined.
In 2020 and 2021 McCaffrey was limited to 10 games due to injuries, but he has been healthy this season. He was just stuck in a bad Panthers offense. The Panthers are 1-5. When they fired Matt Rhule earlier this month, it opened up the possibility of a fire sale before the trade deadline. Receiver Robbie Anderson was traded to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, but that was after a sideline rant. McCaffrey is the second piece to go. Others could follow him to other teams as the Panthers make moves.
The 49ers might still make some moves too, but it'll be hard to top Thursday night's huge trade.