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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports makes obvious prediction for 49ers’ 2024 MVP

Jul 3, 2024 at 10:33 AM

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It's the lull between NFL teams' offseason programs and training camps, a time when news is sparse, pushing outlets to get creative. After all, not everyone has a San Francisco 49ers and Brandon Aiyuk contract dispute to track.

For writer Eric Edholm, this means predicting each team's MVP for the upcoming season. For the 49ers, the choice is clear: their most impactful playmaker, running back Christian McCaffrey.

"First off, this is no Brock Purdy slander," Edholm explained. "I've appreciated his stunning and unexpected growth as much as anyone and freely admit to have written him off as a prospect coming out. But let's be honest with ourselves: CMC is as much the engine of this offense as anyone else in Kyle Shanahan's share-the-wealth system."

McCaffrey's 2,023 scrimmage yards accounted for nearly 30 percent of the 49ers' total offensive production last season. He scored 21 of the unit's 60 touchdowns, earning NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors and finishing third in the MVP voting.

"For a spell last season, he might have been the favorite -- as a running back! In 2023!" Edholm commented. "I don't know if he'll ever win the league MVP award, as quarterbacks have had a hammerlock on that award for decades now. But if there's any non-QB who deserves it, CMC might be the guy. That makes him a bit stronger candidate for the 49ers to me than Purdy, who is the ultimate distributor."

The last non-quarterback to win the NFL's MVP award was running back Adrian Peterson in 2012. McCaffrey currently has the best odds among non-quarterbacks to earn the honor for the upcoming season, followed by wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Predictably, the top of the list is once again dominated by quarterbacks.

McCaffrey joined the 49ers via a mid-season trade in 2022 and has become an integral part of the team's offense. San Francisco recently signed him to a contract extension that will keep him in the Bay Area through the 2027 season.

"He's obviously the offensive MVP for a reason," 49ers run game coordinator and offensive line coach Chris Foerster recently stated. "He's a great football player. He could probably do everything, whether he's a blocker, whether he's a runner, whether he's a pass catcher, whether he's a route runner at receiver, running back, whatever it is. He can do everything but play offensive line on this team.

"And so the fact that he can do all these different things makes him [multi-faceted]. You can use him in so many different ways. [Head coach] Kyle's [Shanahan] able to use him in so many different ways and plug him in the offense, and he becomes a matchup problem for defenses."
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