We’re about 12 hours removed from the 49ers, potentially changing the landscape of the NFC and trading for former Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.
Carolina’s general manager spoke Friday morning and said his team received three firm offers for McCaffrey, which really ramped up over the last 48 hours. Scott Fitterer, the GM, also said he equates the draft compensation his team received from the 49ers to a late first-round pick.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan shared his insights on KNBR Friday morning. For an interview that took place as the sun was still rising, Shanahan had plenty of excitement in his voice.
Everyone’s concern is McCaffrey’s ability to stay healthy. Here’s Shanahan:
“I know that’s a concern, but I have injury concerns about every single player on our team. And it happens, and that’s really the riskiest part of our sport. If I always thought that with every player, I think I’d be frozen and never be able to make a decision. So that is the toughest thing about our deal, and that’s why you can never get too high or too low, whatever your team’s situation is, whatever you think your team is. That’s changing every single day, and you’ve got to be able to adjust to that.”
Shanahan’s speaking from experience. One week, you’re making a game plan that involves Trey Lance. Another week, you’re missing Trent Williams and your entire defensive line.
Shanahan cited the Niners' depth as being necessary because “injuries are going to happen.” Coming out of college, Shanahan explained how the team had the highest possible medical grade on McCaffrey:
“I know when you look at a player like Christian, medically, coming out of college, we had the highest medical grade on him of any player we ever got since we’ve been here. He never had injuries. He was the cleanest guy that we could have. And it started that way for two years in the NFL—the first three years, I believe.
I know these last two years haven’t been the same, but watching him this year, he’s back to his full health, looks like the same guy as coming out of college, and I know we’ve got a tough guy, who handles it right, who takes care of his body as good as anyone can. I’d put him on that Bosa-type level. It’s just been kind of the way he was raised, the way he’s looked at everything. It’s 100 percent commitment to being the best he can be at what he does, and he’s been doing that since he was probably three years old.”
McCaffrey started a combined ten games in 2020 and 2021. He didn’t miss a game in the three previous seasons, and he’s started all six games this year. The hope is the further he gets away from injury, the healthier he can stay.
Shanahan was unsure what this meant for the rest of the running backs: “I’ll think about that based off of when that time comes, who is available, what defenses we’re playing, and how to really just figure out how to win the game.”
Will we see McCaffrey Sunday against the Chiefs? That’s to be determined, according to Shanahan: “I’m still up in the air whether we’re going to be able to get him here for Sunday or not. I know for sure he’ll be here the following Sunday. But that’s kind of why I’m in a wait-and-see approach now. I’m not sure at all. This happened so fast, and we’ve just got to see where he’s at.”