There have been reports that the Carolina Panthers have completed a massive trade by sending running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.
The 2017 NFL draft’s eighth overall pick, McCaffrey spent his first three years as a pro as one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers. In 48 games during that time, he made 42 starts, and he rushed for 5,443 yards and 39 touchdowns.
During that time, he averaged 308.7 touches per year, and there were obvious concerns about whether the heavy workload wore him down given his durability issues over the past two seasons.
In spite of being a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl selection in 2019, the Stanford grad played in only three games that following year due to ankle and shoulder issues.
McCaffrey came back for the 2021 season opener, but he was only able to play in seven games before suffering further hamstring and ankle injuries. This means that out of a total of 33 games over the past two years, he only played in 10.
In October of last year, he was asked if, given his injury history, he was thinking about switching up his playing style.
McCaffrey told the press, “Nah.” In response, “No, I’ll play at top speed all the time.”
In six games this 2022 season, he has amassed 670 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
The fate of the 26-year-old Colorado native’s potential contributions rests on his ability to maintain good health for an extended period.
McCaffrey, signed to a four-year, $64.1 million deal that runs through 2025, could be the most boom-or-bust acquisition of the upcoming NFL season. The Niners are taking a huge risk with him, as he is a true game-changer when he is on the field.
The two-way runner will be the focal point of the San Francisco backfield, but he may have to share touches with Jeff Wilson Jr. Deebo Samuel, a wide receiver, who is also instrumental in the team’s ground game.