July 20, 2024

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Day With badminton

Christian McCaffrey trade details: Everything to know [Updated]

5 min read

Will Christian McCaffrey play this week? What is the 49ers roster situation after the deal? There’s a lot to unpack after the blockbuster trade.

It’s not often that the NFL does its best baseball or basketball impression ahead of the trade deadline. We’re used to seeing blockbuster deals in the MLB and NBA when it comes to contenders attending fire sales in an attempt to complete a championship roster.

The San Francisco 49ers once again licked their fingers and peeled off draft picks the fling at a team in order to acquire what its brass believes is a final piece to a Super Bowl puzzle. The Niners send a draft pick package to the Carolina Panthers for superstar running back Christian McCaffrey, pulling off a blockbuster not often seen in the NFL.

Of course, the 49ers are no strangers to deadline deals involving key skill position players. Almost five years to the day, San Francisco traded a package of picks to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garopoolo.

Jimmy G is still under center — albeit under bizarre and unexpected circumstances — and he now has a cast of absolute studs around him. McCaffrey comes to an offense that already has George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brand Ayiuk, and a crowded room of talented running backs all under the leadership of offensive wizard Kyle Shanahan.

What did 49ers trade for Christian McCaffrey?

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan gave up a pretty hefty haul to land McCaffrey. San Francisco didn’t give up any first-round picks in the deal but did send almost half of its upcoming draft class to Carolina.

The Niners are sending a second, third, and fourth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft plus a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Panthers.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, San Francisco got some help on the trade from an unlikely place — departed coaches Robert Salah and Mike McDaniel..

“What helped the 49ers pull off the trade for Christian McCaffrey was that they had six extra third-round compensatory draft picks granted to them for losing Robert Saleh to the Jets, Mike McDaniel to the Dolphins, and Martin Mayhew to the Commanders in recent off-seasons,” Schefter reported after news of the trade broke.

San Francisco 49ers 2023 draft picks after CMC trade

That tidbit from Schefter becomes rather important when you look at what draft capital is left in the aftermath of the McCaffrey deal. San Francisco was already without its 2023 first-round pick, having dealt that as part of the package that helped land Trey Lance two years ago.

Here’s what the 49ers draft pick situation looks like for the next few years:

2023

  • 3rd round pick
  • 3rd round pick
  • 3rd round pick
  • 3rd round pick
  • 3rd round pick
  • 7th round pick
  • 7th round pick

2024

  • 1st round pick
  • 2nd round pick
  • 3rd round pick
  • 4th round pick
  • 5th round pick
  • 6th round pick
  • 7th round pick

49ers running backs depth chart after CMC trade

With the addition of McCaffrey, the 49ers depth chart at running back is a bit crowded. Jeff Wilson had assumed a larger role with the injury to Elijah Mitchell.

  • RB1: Christian McCaffrey
  • RB2: Jeff Wilson
  • RB 3: Elijah Mitchell
  • RB4: Tevin Coleman
  • RB5: Tyrion David-Price
  • RB6: Jordan Mason

It’s unlikely that the Niners carry all of those running backs on the active roster. In all likelihood, the crew that Shanahan rolls with will consist of CMC, Wilson, and Mitchell with Coleman potentially being in the mix as well.

Keep in mind that the Niners have an additional unofficial running back in Deebo Samuel, who routinely gets carries out of the backfield as part of Shanahan’s scheme.

49ers Roster: Will Christian McCaffrey play this week?

The trade happening on a Thursday increases the chances that McCaffrey will make his 49ers debut in Week 7. San Francisco has a pretty notable and tough matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs and using McCaffrey in that game is exactly the sort of situation they traded for him.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCaffrey is expected to play on Sunday and be featured in red zone packages.

That’s also good news for anyone who owns CMC in fantasy football wondering if they should start him and whether or not doing so will result in points. Given the potential for a high-scoring game, the likelihood that McCaffrey has an immediate impact with the Niners seems high.

Christian McCaffrey contract: Will the 49ers be able to keep him long-term?

While the NFL trade deadline used to be nothing more than a day on the league calendar not too different from every other, recent years have seen a spike in blockbuster deals. Von Miller was dealt at the deadline last year and the birth of this could be traced back to the Vikings trading Percy Harvin to the Seahawks back in

But unlike baseball, which has perhaps the most famous and frenzied trade deadline, the McCaffrey deal isn’t one in which the Panthers are moving an expiring contract to a contender. San Francisco has McCaffrey under contract for another three seasons, which means he’ll be with the Niners through 2025.

That’s the good news if you’re a 49ers fan. The bad news is McCaffrey is in the middle of the high-priced extension Carolina gave him which means the next three years are going to be costly. But that’s a bridge the front office will cross starting next year because CMC’s prorated contract this year is hardly anything:

49ers salary cap situation in 2023

Now that McCaffrey is in the picture, the question of how it will fit with the 49ers salary cap comes into play.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Niners had $4,868,159 in cap space this season and $27,909,109 next season before the McCaffrey trade. A major variable is Jimmy Garoppolo, who many believe will be playing somewhere else in 2023 and thus not have the same massive hit he has on the books this year.

San Francisco is essentially replacing the Jimmy G cap hit with McCaffrey’s.

  • $19.6M in 2023
  • $19.6M in 2024
  • $15.5M in 2025

Jimmy G counted for $13.9M against the cap this season, so the future hit on McCaffrey is more than that but roughly in the same ballpark as far as figuring out how to make the books work. San Francisco was projected to have $64,080,924 in cap space in 2024 based on the current contract structures in place, but the McCaffrey deal changes that in more than one way.

Not only are the Niners on the hook for his $64M contract from the Panthers but his addition means that San Francisco will need to make sure it keeps filling in key positional talent as it goes all-in on winning a Super Bowl in the next three years.

The good news for 49ers fans is that McCaffrey, Fred Warner, Trent Williams, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Trey Lance are all under contract through 2025 which gives Shanahan a pretty great core to fill in the gaps around.

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