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Christian McCaffrey and the Changing Fortunes of the High-flying 49ers

Comprehending the implications of the CMC trade and what it means for the NFC West favorites following a thrilling Week 8 performance that included a “touchdown trifecta”

It only took two games for Christian McCaffrey to reintroduce himself as one of the most lethal weapons in all of football, while the San Francisco 49ers proved to be a powerhouse with their new star in the lineup.

CMC had just two days to prepare for a Week 7 bout against the Chiefs when he was first traded from Carolina to the Bay; it takes several hours of film study and practice even to begin to get accustomed to a new offensive system — especially a tricky one of Kyle Shanahan’s handiwork.

That’s why the real treat for fans was watching McCaffrey show exactly who he is and what he’s capable of in his second week in a Niners uniform, where he turned right around and pulled off a feat we haven’t seen since 2005 — one rushing touchdown, one passing touchdown, and one receiving touchdown in the same game, the patented NFL trifecta. In doing so, he became the only player in the Super Bowl era to have at least one of each type of offensive TD and 30 or more yards passing, rushing, and receiving in a single contest.

The 49ers ultimately defeated the Rams 31-14 in Week 8, their second double-digit win against their divisional foes (and the defending Super Bowl champs besides). Such a performance further solidifies the argument for the Niners sidestepping what would have been a premature rebuild, as well as why they went from preseason Super Bowl futures betting long-shots (+1600) to a top-four favorite (+1300).

Boardroom takes a deeper look at the 49ers-Panthers Christian McCaffrey trade and its wide-ranging implications below.

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Who Benefits Most From the CMC Trade?

Kyle Shanahan: The six-year Niners coach boasts one of the league’s best defenses, but his innovation on the offensive side of the ball works perfectly for CMC. Shanahan dialed up the famous “Deebo Sweep” which bodes well for McCaffrey in regard to creative play-calling.

During Thursday Night’s run-through, Shanahan pondered whether CMC can throw the ball. Tight ends coach Brian Fleury sent the head coach a clip from 2018 depicting McCaffrey tossing a 50-yard touchdown pass against the Saints; it isn’t so much the pass that’s spectacular, but the team feeling the confidence to entrust him with such a play in the first place so early in his tenure.

Jimmy Garoppolo: This goes without saying. Add one of the most dominant pass-catching backs in the game, and your job as a QB becomes a whole lot easier. McCaffrey, who has the second-most catches by an NFL running back this year (43), caught eight passes for 55 yards and a TD. Those eight receptions were the second-most he’s caught this season. Meanwhile, Jimmy G completed 21 passes on the day for a QB rating of 81.2 — his highest of the season.

How could that be the case with Deebo Samuel sitting out? Look no further than No. 23.

Deebo Samuel: It’s simply less pressure on Deebo to carry the load both as a receiver and running back. The 49ers haven’t had a running back rush for 1,000+ yards in a season since Frank Gore (2014). Since then, they have shuffled through several backs including Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Elijah Mitchell.

49ers-Panthers Christian McCaffrey Trade Details

49ers Traded:
  • 2nd-round pick (2023)
  • 3rd-round pick (2023)
  • 4th-round pick (2023)
  • 5th-round pick (2024)
49ers Received:

RB Christian McCaffrey

How Much Money is CMC Owed?

Figures via Spotrac

Total Salary Compensation
  • 2022: $690,000
  • 2023: $12,000,000
  • 2024: $12,000,000
  • 2025: $12,200,000
Full Contract Details

Years: 4
Total value: $64,063,500
Guaranteed at signing: $30,062,500
Total guaranteed: $38,162,500
Free agency: 2026 (potential out after 2022 season)

The trade makes tons of sense for the Niners this season. He’s the second-lowest-paid player on the active roster ($690,000), which leaves them with roughly $4.2 million in cap space before his compensation escalates significantly in the subsequent three years of his extension.

Aside from becoming the favorite in the NFC West, the Niners pose threats few other teams have — a great defense, two dual-threat superstars in Samuel and CMC, and some financial flexibility. There’s no ceiling on how good this team can be, but first they need to get past the division-leading Seahawks before we talk too big a game.

So, we’ll get George Kittle do it instead.

“With all those skill position [talent], there isn’t a ceiling, really,” Kittle said.

49ers Futures Betting Odds

Via FanDuel Sportsbok as of Oct. 31.

To win NFC West: -140 (betting favorite)
To win NFC Championship: +550
To win Super Bowl LVII: +1300

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.