The NFL trade deadline approaches on November 1, but it's going to be super difficult to match the monster trade the 49ers made to acquire star running back Christian McCaffrey. They traded a haul of picks to snag him and are destined to pay him lots of money in the near future. So what does that mean for their potential as a team?
McCaffrey is on a tear this season and remains a pretty viable candidate for Comeback Player of the Year at +800 (Bet $10 to win $80). Entering Week 8, he ranks fifth among running backs in total scrimmage yards in spite of spending six games with the Panthers (yuck). Now, he joins the likes of HC Kyle Shanahan, whose offensive scheme is more than friendly to the run game.
CMC is special. We know that. His 2019 season of 2,392 scrimmage yards literally ranks third among running backs in a single season. Ever — even despite missing 23 games over the last three seasons due to injuries. But I do wonder if he's really what this team has been missing.
After all, it's not like average running backs haven't found success in this system. After all, four of the seven running backs to see 100+ carries with Shanahan since 2017 have averaged more than 4.4 yards per carry. Color me skeptical that the actual running backs have been the problem here, rather than the fact that they've struggled to stay healthy.
Perhaps I'm too low on what McCaffrey offers this team. After all, the 49ers have the fourth-best odds to win Super Bowl LVII right now at +1500 — AKA, bet $10 to win $150.
Since Kyle Shanahan became head coach of the 49ers in 2017, the team has averaged 122 rush yards per game — 10th most in the NFL.
In that same span, they've scored 92 rushing touchdowns — the same number of rushing touchdowns the Panthers have had since drafting Christian McCaffrey in 2017.
Including the 2023 draft, San Francisco will have used four top-100 picks on running backs. Picks include Trey Sermon (No. 88 in 2021), Ty Davis-Price (No. 93 in 2022) and now next year's second and third-rounders they sent the Panthers for McCaffrey.