The San Francisco 49ers shook up the NFC with a big time trade. The Niners picked up a career 7,272 total yards RB, Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers got 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rd picks in the 2023 draft, and a 5th in 2024. Making a move like this in the NFC immediately changes the horizon. The Eagles were looking like, and still are, based off of what they’ve been putting on the field, I would think it’s fair to say that they are still the favorite in the NFC. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some teams that can easily slip in there. The Niners have been looked at as a defensive lead team this season giving up just 14.8 points per game and with their defense they have been sitting at just a 3-3 record as of this article. The offense, although with its share of very talented players, just has not been what I think that San Francisco fans were hoping for. And that is what they needed to improve on, and with this trade that is what they went and did.
There are some critics of the trade thinking that the Niners gave up far too much for a running back who has had his share of injury problems. But to me this looks more like a win-win trade in my opinion. Carolina is a roaring tire fire and needs some draft capital to really start rebuilding that team. San Francisco has a team currently that can compete and make some noise in the NFC and they have depth, so right now, I don’t think that drafting is their number one priority – they have a team that just got better and will be the VegasTopDogs favorite in the NFC.
McCaffrey finds himself now in a much different position than he has ever been in before in his career. Now granted, he has missed a whopping 23 games since 2020 – but when you’re a player who literally carries the team on your back and he touches the ball on what seems to be 80% of snaps there’s a higher chance of being hurt. Now McCaffrey is on a team where there’s a lot of talent around them he’s not going to have to carry as much of the load as he was. In Carolina, there really wasn’t a whole lot of support, the QB situation was not good, there was not a good TE situation, their offensive line was terrible, he’s going to fit in and be just fine in San Francisco. He’s not the only weapon the Niners have which will be a good thing for the 26 yr old RB.
He is a generational RB, who put up 1000+ yards rushing in 2018 and 2019 along with 1,872 receiving yards in that time frame as well, to go along with his 32 total touchdowns. He has put out jaw dropping performances with 7 games of 100 yards or more rushing, along with 35 or more receiving. He has also had 17 games of 70 or more receiving, and some think this guy isn’t worth these picks?
That’s crazy talk to me.
Who are the Niners going to get better than him in that draft?
I’ll tell you.
This is a player that was looked at as the ultimate weapon for several years, his ability to hit the hole and take off with explosive speed was outstanding. Adding on top of that his exceptional hands and his ability to run routes. People need to remember that he caught 100 or more receptions twice and this is a RB, this isn’t a WR1. He won’t be used like that in San Fran, which should help him last longer and quite honestly, he could be even more effective. He won’t be forced to be the focal point of the offense now with the likes of Deebo, along with an improving Brandon Aiyuk. And of course, we can’t forget about their Pro Bowl tight end Greg Kittle and the fact that San Francisco finds ways to get their running backs in the best positions they can be. Undrafted RB, Jeff Wilson ran for 4.8+ YPC in 2 of the last 3 seasons, journeyman Matt Breida ran for 5.0 YPC avg in his 3 years in San Fran – I certainly think Christian McCaffrey will be more than fine in their running scheme.
The NFC Conference looks a lot different now with their SuperBowl Odds. San Francisco was already looked at as a likely playoff team with a stud defense, and now just adding more firepower to their offense, they certainly have the appearance of a team that legitimately can go to the Bowl this year. This trade means the Niners are all in for a ring this season. I doubt the 49ers will end up regretting this. If you are a team that feels you have what it takes to be a champion you have to take some risks, like the great hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said – “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”