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Trade Grade: Carolina Panthers trade RB Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers

Image Credit: (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin:

Twitter: @nicholasmullick

Well now that was a crazy Thursday Night Football game as the Arizona Cardinals defeated the New Orleans Saints. Now I can get some sleep and get ready for tomorrow morning. Hold up I just need to check my phone as I got a notification.

I guess the NFL does not want me to go to sleep tonight, Huh.

Well it has been speculated since Matt Rhule got fired in Carolina a week ago and it is now official. The yard sale of Carolina Panthers players continues. First the Carolina Panthers trade Wide Receiver Robbie Anderson to the Arizona Cardinals. Christian McCaffrey is on the move as the Carolina Panthers have traded him to the San Francisco 49ers. The details of the trade are down below.

Carolina Panthers Acquire: 2023 2nd Round Pick, 2023 3rd Round Pick, 2023 4th Round Pick, and a 2024 5th Round Pick

San Francisco 49ers Acquire: RB Christian McCaffrey

Carolina Panthers Side

So much for Carolina only willing to move Christian McCaffrey for multiple first round picks. While this may be tough as McCaffrey is probably the best player on this team, this move had to be done. Especially as Carolina’s offense needed to change. It was not going to work with the core they had and they over relied on McCaffrey.

Not only did this team over relied on McCaffrey, but his durability concerns were going to be an issue. Long term McCaffrey was not in their plans and it was clear. The running back position as many examples show is a position that declines quickly and it is better to get value now, then lose him for nothing/declining value. Also McCaffrey’s contract was going to be an issue for Carolina and trading him gives the Panthers much needed cap space. Also they grow there draft capital which is never a bad idea for any team in Carolina’s situation.

San Francisco 49ers Side

San Francisco? Really, there are the ones that acquired Christian McCaffrey via trade. This kinda looks like a desperation move. However it makes sense, as this could be one of the 49ers final chances to win a Superbowl. Even though they already have Eijah Mitchell returning soon from his injury, there is no confidence he will be ready 100% and this can give the 49ers a true 1 & 2 punch on offense at running back. If McCaffery stays healthy, then this has a ton of benefits for the 49ers on their playoff push.

However this is risky for the 49ers as not only is McCaffrey’s contract going to be difficult to get out of, but again he has durability issues. Injury history does not just go away and if McCaffrey suffers another injury, then that can cause a big issue for the 49ers. Especially as the 49ers cap hit is at 19.55 million in 2023 and 2024, along with 15.45 million cap hit in 2025.

Grades for Christian McCaffrey Trade Carolina Panthers Side: B+ San Francisco 49ers Side: B-

This is clearly a win-win trade for both teams. I have to give the win of the trade to the Carolina Panthers as they get a ton of picks for a player that was not in their long term future and got rid of a bad contract. The 49ers also win because they get another piece added to their team to help get them to the Super Bowl. Only reason why it is a B- and not a B is due to the large risk that the 49ers are taking doing this move. Overall good move by both Carolina Panthers GM Scott Fitterer and San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch. Hopefully this trade works out for both sides. I will say to end it that, I doubt this will be the last that we hear about the Panthers trading players during the Trade Deadline.

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