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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Why the 49ers’ trade for RB Christian McCaffrey isn’t as expensive as anticipated

Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 20, 2022 at 10:00 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers made a blockbuster move, trading for Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey in exchange for second-round, third-round, and fourth-round selections in 2023, as well as a fifth-round pick in 2024.

All week long, the 49ers had been rumored to be in pursuit of the dynamic RB, and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the 49ers and Rams were the two teams most heavily involved in trade talks. San Francisco ended up with the edge, securing one of the premier running backs for the next three seasons.

Let's break down exactly why the 49ers traded for McCaffrey and how the deal isn't as expensive as many believe.

The Draft Compensation

The 49ers moved four mid-round selections for Christian McCaffrey, keeping their 2024 first-round selection.

However, San Francisco is much more insulated to shoulder the loss of draft capital as opposed to other contenders, given their expected future draft picks.

In 2023, the 49ers are expected to receive two compensatory third-round selections due to the losses of former OC Mike McDaniel to the Dolphins and DC Robert Saleh to the Jets, both of whom are minority head coaches .

In addition, the 49ers are expected to receive a compensatory fifth-round selection for D.J. Jones, who departed for the Denver Broncos in free agency this past offseason, and a seventh-round selection for Arden Key, who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So, despite losing three mid-round selections in the 2023 NFL Draft with the McCaffrey trade, the 49ers still have seven draft picks in 2023 (outlined below).

Furthermore, the 49ers are expected to get the second of two third-round compensatory picks for Mike McDaniel in 2024, while potentially receiving one for defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, should he depart as a head coach in the offseason, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if he moves to another team.

So, overall, the 49ers could end up with more draft capital than before, even with the McCaffrey trade.

Updated 2023 Draft Picks

  • Third-round pick
  • Third-round pick (compensatory)
  • Fifth-round pick
  • Fifth-round pick (compensatory)
  • Sixth-round pick (compensatory)
  • Seventh-round pick
  • Seventh-round pick (via Denver)
  • Seventh-round pick (compensatory)

Updated 2024 Draft Picks

  • First-round pick
  • Second-round pick
  • Third-round pick
  • Third-round pick (compensatory)
  • Third-round pick (potential compensatory for DeMeco Ryans)
  • Third-round pick (potential compensatory for Jimmy Garoppolo)
  • Fourth-round pick
  • Sixth-round pick
  • Seventh-round pick

The Contract

This week, many 49ers fans have argued that Christian McCaffrey's contract is untenable, given that the star running back recently signed a four-year, $64 million extension in 2020.

That couldn't be further from the truth.

The 49ers are paying McCaffrey just $690,000 for the remainder of the 2022 season, which easily fits under their current salary cap, while owing the running back $36.25 million over the next three seasons.

However, the remainder of McCaffrey's contract has just $1 million guaranteed for injury, meaning the 49ers have significant flexibility with the current contract.

It's likely that the two sides will agree to a restructured deal in the offseason that guarantees McCaffrey more money over the final years of his deal, but the 49ers have leverage in that situation and could give more guaranteed money in exchange for a lower annual salary.

Regardless, San Francisco has options with McCaffrey's contract and is insulated with draft capital over the next few seasons to absorb the loss of several mid-round selections, making this a good move for the organization.

Not only does McCaffrey increase the 49ers' chances of contention in 2022, but his longer deal allows for the 49ers to integrate him with Trey Lance when the young quarterback returns to the fold in 2023, which should increase the potential for the offense to be among the league's best.

Related News

The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • BigAl
    Yessir! We called it. I said wks ago, time to be all in! This is what it takes to win SBs in the current NFL, including the way the Eagles have retooled. That obtaining CM was the simplest way to improve the offense. F' them picks. Anybody we wouldve drafted probably would have warmed the bench anyway, our 3rd rounders cant get on the field! The reaction by some 49er fans shouldnt surprise me. I mean somehow in that Cali sunshine they will still find all the negatives right? Im starting to realize its their own verbal sport. They also clearly dont understand just how dynamic CM is. They are still crying about losing the genius Mike McDaniel, who by way has Miamis run game in the basement of the NFL. ( I do like MM and obviously a lineup featuring Waddle and Hill doesnt need to run alot) The fact is CM may be the best in the league after the catch, not named Deebo. Hes regarded as one of the best route runners in the league, for any position. He has the cut and go HR ability of Mostert. Very simply, A lineup of CM, Deebo, Aiyuk, Jennings, and Kittle? Is the best YAC group I have ever seen!
    Oct 21, 2022 at 5:15 AM


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