Panthers trade star Christian McCaffrey to 49ers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The San Francisco 49ers will send 2023 second-, third- and fourth-round picks to the Carolina Panthers, sources told ESPN’s Adam Sheft on Thursday night. rights and a 2024 fifth-round pick in exchange for star running back Christian McCaffrey. .

The deal gives San Francisco the offensive weapon it needs to compete in the Super Bowl. It also gave McCaffrey the chance to get on a winning team for the first time since his rookie season in 2017, when Carolina returned to the Bay Area with an 11-5 record and a starring role at Stanford.

When healthy, McCaffrey is one of the best dual threats in the NFL. In 2019, he became the third player in NFL history to complete 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. His 670 yards from scrimmage — a team-leading 393 rushing yards and a team-leading 277 yards on 33 receptions — is fourth in the NFL this season.

Injuries have been the biggest problem for the former Stanford star. He missed 23 of 33 games in 2020 and 2021 after going injury-free in the first three NFL seasons. This past offseason, he spent time talking to Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, who has had some of his most productive seasons since the 6th grade, about what exercise and diet habits can help He stayed on the field.

McCaffrey has avoided injury so far, playing on 85 percent of Carolina’s steals.

Speculation that the Panthers (1-5) could move on from 26-year-old McCaffrey began after coach Matt Rhule was fired Monday as the team lost 37-15 to the 49ers, 1- 4 behind. Carolina initially asked for two first-round picks, according to a non-Panthers management source.

Financially, the deal makes sense for Carolina. McCaffrey, the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft, is under contract through 2025, with a base salary of $11 million in 2022 and 2023 and $12 million in 2025. He is capped at $19,550,750 in 2023 and 2024 and $15,450,750 in 2025.

The trade also makes financial sense for the 49ers this season. McCaffrey will receive a base salary of $1,035,000 in 2022 after restructuring his contract in December 2021. Between the $26,938,000 in dead money on the Panthers’ 2022 book and his cap hits in 2022 and 2023, Carolina will save a cap of $1,198,500 in 2023.

Helped the 49ers broker the McCaffrey trade because they lost Robert Saleh to the Jets, Mike McDaniel to the Dolphins, and Martin Mayhew to the Jets in the recent offseason Commander, who received six additional third-round compensation picks.

The key for Carolina is keeping McCaffrey’s salary cap moving forward for the 2023-25 ​​season. The Panthers will replace McCaffrey with 2021 draft picks Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman, who traded with the Tennessee Titans in the offseason. Forman has 12 attempts for 37 yards this season, and Hubbard has 5 attempts for 39 yards.

A frustrated McCaffrey said “I just want to win” after a 24-10 loss to the Panthers to the Rams 1-5 on Sunday. Now he has a chance.

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