Christian McCaffrey

AFC East Notes: Bills, Chubb, Moore, Bailey

The Bills were connected to a number of running backs leading up to the deadline, including major names like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. Bills GM Brandon Beane, who worked for the Panthers for nearly 20 years, acknowledged that he discussed McCaffrey with his former team but never made a formal offer, per Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News. On the flip side, Beane said he never discussed Kamara with the Saints.

Ultimately, the Bills ended up landing on Nyheim Hines, who was acquired from the Colts for a conditional draft pick and running back Zack Moss. Beane told reporters that he spoke with the Colts on Monday night but talks really heated up right before the deadline.

“Another guy with speed, experience,” Beane said of Hines (via Skurski). “He can go out there and play slot. I mean, back at N.C. State, he was a punt returner, kick returner, receiver, running back. He can just – he can do a lot of things. So, when he’s in the huddle, the defense knows he’s in the game, but they don’t know exactly where he’s going to line up. I think you’ll see that as James (Cook) gets going, too – you know, you don’t want to overload a rookie, but he’ll be used more as a receiver, slot, things like that. So this just gives us a guy who’s proven, who can add in, and we’ll see. But if we needed him to go play slot receiver for a game, once he picks up the offense, he’s got that skill set.”

Buffalo also acquired safety Dean Marlowe from the Falcons for a seventh-round pick. While neither the Marlowe nor Hines acquisitions stole headlines, Beane is confident that these depth moves will ultimately pay off in the long run.

“Neither one of these moves at 1 o’clock were anywhere near happening,” Beane said. “So if they didn’t happen, for whatever reason, I could have sat up here, said we believe in who we got, and we do, but … I’m always going to look. If it makes sense for the Buffalo Bills, today and long term, we’re going to try and make it happen. Of the two guys we got, there’s another 100-plus that we looked into. … I think we looked at, dug deep on just 10 safeties alone, but we looked at other positions – is there a chance to acquire a depth (player)? Maybe not a starter, but a depth piece, just to shore us up, should injury happen. But these were the two that we felt made the most sense.”

More notes from around the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins quickly signed their major deadline acquisition to an extension, inking Bradley Chubb a five-year, $110MM deal ($63.2MM guaranteed) earlier today. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provides some more details (via Twitter) on that guaranteed money, noting that $33.4MM of the total is fully guaranteed at signing, while $53MM becomes fully guaranteed in 2023.
  • Elijah Moore was hoping for a trade out of New York prior to the deadline, and while Jets GM Joe Douglas acknowledged that he received “some calls” on the wideout, he made it sound like the front office never seriously entertained offers (per ESPN’s Rich Cimini on Twitter). “We love Elijah,” Douglas said (via’s Kevin Patra). “We all stood on the table to take him high in the second round last year, and we think the world of him. Obviously, we’re a football family and anytime there’s an issue, we like to handle that in-house. But I was able to have a really good one-on-one conversation with Elijah. We think the world of him; we think he has a bright future as a New York Jet.”
  • Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton has been rehabbing a season-ending knee injury, and Douglas said there’s some optimism that he’ll be ready to go for next year’s OTAs (per Brian Costello of the New York Post on Twitter). The lineman specifically suffered an avulsion fracture of the right kneecap, knocking him out for a pivotal campaign. The 2020 first-round pick missed the majority of his sophomore season with a knee injury.
  • Patriots punter Jake Bailey has struggled this season, leading ESPN’s Mike Reiss to wonder if the veteran could be playing for his job. After working out a number of punters, the team ended up adding Michael Palardy to the practice squad, a further indication that Bailey’s job is on thin ice. “Right now we’re working through some things,” said special teams coordinator Cameron Achord. “Jake’s going to be OK. Jake’s a pro … He still has all the talent.” Bailey is averaging a career-low 42.9 yards per punt, and his 62.2 percent touchback percentage is also a career-worst mark.

Rams Included Cam Akers In Christian McCaffrey Proposal; Broncos, Eagles Made Offers

It took four picks for the 49ers to pry Christian McCaffrey from the Panthers. No strangers to exiting trade or free agency sweepstakes with wins, the Rams made a similar offer. It came down to a Day 3 pick for San Francisco’s proposal to win out.

The Rams offered the Panthers second- and third-round 2023 picks, along with fourth- and fifth-rounders in 2024, Albert Breer of reports. The defending Super Bowl champions also included Cam Akers in their proposal, Breer adds, but the Panthers went with the 49ers’ offer because it included a fourth-rounder in 2023 as opposed to 2024.

Last year’s Sony Michel trade stripped the Rams of their 2023 fourth-rounder; the team sent the Patriots fourth- and sixth-round picks for Michel. The Rams have their first-, second- and third-round picks in 2024, for now, but are not believed to have included any of those choices in their McCaffrey proposal. The value of the 2023 selections will come down to how the NFC West teams finish this season, but the Panthers still viewed the 49ers’ offer as more attractive.

[RELATED: Bills Did Not Make Offer For McCaffrey]

Los Angeles is still trying to move Akers, who could be a chip for the teams that missed out on McCaffrey. However, one of the teams involved in the sweepstakes moved on with a cheaper solution. The Broncos signed Marlon Mack on Monday morning, doing so in the wake of losing Mike Boone suffering an ankle injury against the Jets. Denver adding McCaffrey at this point, amid an October freefall, would have made less sense than the All-Pro back going to a 2022 contender.

Mentioned as a McCaffrey suitor, the Broncos joined the Eagles in making noncompetitive offers, Breer adds. Both teams are believed to have made offers involving third- or fourth-round picks to see if the Panthers were keen on taking a discount to move the high-priced running back. Considering what the Rams and 49ers proposed, the Broncos and Eagles’ efforts were nonstarters for the Panthers.

Midway through last season, the Eagles pivoted to a run-based attack around Jalen Hurts. The team has Miles Sanders atop its backfield depth chart, but the former second-round pick is in a contract year. Ditto Boston Scott. Kenneth Gainwell and Trey Sermon are each signed through 2024, though neither is obviously close to McCaffrey’s level. McCaffrey would have been an interesting piece for Philly, given his passing-game prowess. The Eagles’ offense has not involved much usage for backs through the air; Sanders leads Philly’s backs with 11 catches for 42 yards this season. And it does not sound like the Eagles, who have been in many trade derbies under Howie Roseman, were too interested here.

The first team to call the Panthers on McCaffrey, the 49ers put the trade prize to work quickly. McCaffrey received 10 touches Sunday against the Chiefs, despite not going through a full practice with his new team yet. Rather than add Akers as a CMC replacement, the Panthers turned to backups D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard in Week 7. The duo combined for a staggering 208 scrimmage yards against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Foreman is on an expiring contract; Hubbard’s rookie deal runs through 2024.

49ers RB Christian McCaffrey To Play Today Against Chiefs

After only two days in a new system, it appears that former Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey will suit up to play for his new team against the Chiefs today, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. This isn’t much of a surprise, as it was widely expected that the 49ers would have some package of plays that they feel confident putting the dynamic, dual-threat runner into, but, apparently, McCaffrey has surprised his new team with just how much of the offense he’s been able to pick up in a short period.

The 49ers initially thought McCaffrey would be unlikely to suit up for today’s game when they acquired him, but the 26-year-old reportedly immersed himself in the 49ers’ offensive scheme shortly after the trade was agreed to, according to ESPN. Because he’s been able to pick up the offense so quickly, San Francisco feels confident in the package of plays they’ll be able to utilize him in for their gameplan against the Chiefs.

McCaffrey has been having a bit of a resurgent season. After not missing a single game in his first three seasons, McCaffrey only played in 10 of a possible 33 games over the past two years due to a sequence of shoulder, hamstring, and ankle injuries. Unfortunately, the 49ers know all too well about running back injuries and, this year, about injuries in general. Thankfully for them, McCaffrey has played 85% of Carolina’s snaps this year and his 670 combined rushing and receiving yards, accumulated in the league’s 30th ranked offense in total yards, is just a taste of what he can provide for the Niners offense.

In an offense that praises duality, the 49ers could not have hand-crafted a better running back than McCaffrey. In his last full season, McCaffrey became the third player in NFL history, after Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk, to record both 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. Pairing that with Deebo Samuel‘s prowess both receiving and rushing and one of the best blocking and receiving tight ends in the game, George Kittle, gives Jimmy Garoppolo an embarrassment of riches. Not to mention that the 49ers still plan to transition the offense to quarterback Trey Lance, whose rushing abilities at North Dakota State netted him 1,100 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in 2019. There may not be a more versatile offensive skills group than the 2023 49ers.

For now, though, it appears the 49ers will try to ease McCaffrey into the offense with a specific package of plays. All the dreams of what he can bring to this offense are soon to come, but there’s only so much one can learn in two days’ time.

Bills Never Made Christian McCaffrey Offer?

The early birds in the Christian McCaffrey trade derby, the Bills saw the price rise to an untenable place. The 49ers ended up acquiring the All-Pro running back for a four-pick compensation package, but the Bills may not have been the third team to submit a firm offer.

These sweepstakes came down to the 49ers and Rams, but the Bills stayed in touch with the Panthers throughout. Despite the Bills doing so and calling the Panthers about McCaffrey this offseason, Albert Breer of notes Buffalo is not believed to have made an offer (Twitter link). Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said three offers came in. A report earlier Friday indicated the Broncos also did not propose trade terms, leaving the identity of the third offer a mystery.

Buffalo is believed to be prioritizing its 2023 first-round pick, despite it being a weapon neither Los Angeles nor San Francisco possessed. The Matthew Stafford and Trey Lance trades, respectively, stripped the Rams and 49ers of their 2023 first-rounders. But the Bills did not want to include a first for McCaffrey.

The Bills were among the first to call the Panthers on McCaffrey during these in-season sweepstakes, Breer adds. But, as the Panthers informed the Bills where the trade talks were heading, Buffalo’s Carolina-imported brass stood down. Considering McCaffrey’s injury history and the high costs on the Bills’ payroll — a rumored issue regarding McCaffrey’s high salaries from 2023-25 — it is understandable they did not want to include their top 2023 draft asset.

Bills-Panthers connections have produced several Buffalo-to-Charlotte treks since Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane arrived in Buffalo. Josh Norman, Mario Addison, Kelvin Benjamin, A.J. Klein, Daryl Williams and Vernon Butler, among others, all stopped through Buffalo during the McDermott-Beane rebuild. Current Panthers assistant GM Dan Morgan was also with the Bills from 2018-20, strengthening the pipeline between these organizations. Hired to succeed Doug Whaley shortly after the 2017 draft, Beane was still with the Panthers when they chose McCaffrey eighth overall that year. But the 49ers were the first team to send the Panthers a CMC offer. The Stanford alum also was believed to prefer a San Francisco landing.

The Bills have assembled probably their best team since at least 1993, but their run game has been Josh Allen-dependent for multiple seasons now. Allen’s 257 rushing yards lead the team, though Devin Singletary has 256. Singletary and second-round pick James Cook lead Buffalo’s backfield, with Zack Moss having drifted off the radar. The Bills used a second-round pick on Cook and have Singletary in a contract year. Barring a trade for another back, this coalition will represent Buffalo’s backfield during the team’s latest Super Bowl push.

CMC Trade Fallout: Panthers, Offers, 49ers, Draft, Shanahan, Rams, Bills, Broncos, RBs

While reports indicating Christian McCaffrey‘s availability appeared at select points this year, this process began to heat up in the days after Matt Rhule‘s firing. Last week became a tipping point, with McCaffrey’s position on the trade block becoming a relentless NFL story.

Scott Fitterer said he received initial McCaffrey offers last Friday, and while the team fell just short of receiving a first-round equivalent, the second-year GM said the combined value comes close (Twitter links via’s Darin Gantt). Interest picked up over the past two days, and Fitterer said three teams submitted hard offers.

The 49ers were the first team to reach out, Albert Breer of tweets, doing so last Friday. Other teams started calling Tuesday. The process concluded with the 49ers sending the Panthers second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2024.

It is safe to say the Rams were one of the final three. They were viewed as the silver medalist for the dual-threat running back, with’s Peter Schrager indicating the Rams’ interest helped fuel the 49ers’ pursuit (video link). This reminds of 2021’s Matthew Stafford sweepstakes, when the 49ers pursued the veteran quarterback only to see the Rams swoop in late with a monster offer.

Cam Akers‘ struggles recapturing his pre-Achilles-tear form already led to some issues in the Rams’ backfield, matters compounded by injuries on their offensive line, but the third-year back’s trade likelihood further complicates this situation. Darrell Henderson resides as Los Angeles’ top back, but the team may still be on the lookout. Though, absent a talent like McCaffrey, it is possible the defending Super Bowl champions focus their pre-deadline efforts on higher-value positions.

The Bills may have been the third team. Buffalo checked in on McCaffrey this offseason, and while the team did not submit an offer then, it wanted a courtesy call in the event Carolina became serious about moving its All-Pro back. The Bills possessed an advantage on the Rams and 49ers, in holding their 2023 first-round pick. But Buffalo wanted to hold onto that choice, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports notes. McCaffrey’s future salaries ($11.8MM, $11.8MM, $12MM) were potentially problematic for a Bills team — one that extended Josh Allen in 2021, Stefon Diggs in 2022 and signed Von Miller in free agency — that features high costs atop its payroll.

Rumored as a suitor late last week, the Broncos called the Panthers about the Colorado native, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports notes. The team is not believed to have submitted an offer, however, per Jones. The Broncos could have put together a long-term McCaffrey-Javonte Williams partnership, though the latter — ACL tear notwithstanding — profiles as a potential star and is signed through 2024. Denver’s Russell Wilson contract also would have made bringing McCaffrey home more complicated.

While McCaffrey is not going home, he is returning to the region in which he starred in college. The former Heisman finalist at Stanford expressed interest for the past few days in returning to the Bay Area and playing for Kyle Shanahan, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The 26-year-old back has known Kyle Shanahan most of his life, with the two being around the Mike Shanahan-era Broncos due to their fathers’ 1990s and 2000s Denver stays. Ed McCaffrey, a backup behind Jerry Rice and John Taylor during the 49ers’ 1994 Super Bowl-winning season, was with the Broncos from 1995-2003.

San Francisco still holds two third-round picks next year — due to Washington’s Martin Mayhew GM hire and Miami’s Mike McDaniel HC addition — but is now without first- or second-round choices. Shanahan confirmed McCaffrey would not be a rental, and Trey Lance‘s rookie deal will pair well with CMC’s salaries. But the team stands to enter next year’s draft with a Rams-like pick allotment.

It’s great to have these draft picks and stuff,” Shanahan said during a KNBR appearance (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch). “That’s how you build your team. That’s how we build our team here is through the draft. But when you know you have a guaranteed guy and you don’t have to worry about three picks, hoping one of them will [work out], you just go get that guy. That’s something that I feel you never look back on. It’s rare that you can get those opportunities.”

In terms of how the Panthers will proceed going forward, Steve Wilks said the team will use a committee approach to replace McCaffrey. Carolina had used McCaffrey as a workhorse whenever he was available, a blueprint that may have contributed to his injury trouble over the past two years. But D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard stand to pick up the slack. Running back will likely be a Panthers 2023 need.

Panthers Trade Christian McCaffrey To 49ers

Rumored to be on the trade block for the past several days, Christian McCaffrey is on the move. The 49ers will acquire the former All-Pro Panthers running back, Adam Schefter of reports (on Twitter).

The 49ers are sending over a major haul for the sixth-year back. Carolina will acquire San Francisco’s second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-round 2024 selection, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The Bills and Rams were also rumored to be in on McCaffrey, and this compensation package certainly indicates interest was there. The trade is now official.

The Rams indeed made a push for CMC, according to’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Los Angeles has made a host of splashy in-season trades in recent years, moves that have helped produce Super Bowl berths, but the team stood down here. The 49ers now have McCaffrey signed through 2025. Despite this Thursday-night transaction, Rapoport notes McCaffrey is expected to play against the Chiefs on Sunday (Twitter link) in a presumably limited role.

The Panthers sought a first-round pick and change for McCaffrey this offseason and wanted a first-round equivalent now, as the two finalists (the 49ers and Rams) did not have 2023 first-rounders (video link). Carolina had opened the door to accepting a picks package headlined by Day 2 choices; that pivot led to a considerable boost in the franchise’s draft arsenal.

Although the Bills called to check on McCaffrey’s availability this offseason and were still interested as he hit the block, Rapoport adds they were not involved in these sweepstakes at the end (Twitter link). While the Bills will move forward with their Devin SingletaryJames Cook backfield stable, the 49ers will add one of this era’s top dual-threat backs to theirs.

McCaffrey, 26, will join a 49ers running back cadre currently headed by Jeff Wilson. Starter Elijah Mitchell remains on IR with an MCL sprain but is expected to return around midseason. Like McCaffrey, Mitchell has battled injuries as a pro. Wilson (470 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns this season) has stayed healthy during Mitchell’s hiatus. While Wilson should still have a role, McCaffrey will obviously move into position as San Francisco’s top back for the stretch run.

Because the Panthers restructured McCaffrey’s contract this offseason, the 49ers only owe him $690K for the season’s remainder. However, CMC’s four-year, $64MM deal — still the running back benchmark 2 1/2 years after its finalization — includes base salaries of $11.8MM in 2023 and ’24 and $12MM in 2025. Considering the picks the 49ers are parting with, it does not seem like they view McCaffrey as a one-year rental. That said, only $1MM in injury guarantees remain on the deal, giving San Francisco some flexibility.

McCaffrey’s dominance at Stanford provided the onramp for him to become a rare modern-era top-10 running back draftee, and after a modest rookie year, he broke through with one of this period’s top running back seasons. Despite Cam Newton going down early in the 2019 season, McCaffrey made a run at Chris Johnson‘s single-season scrimmage yards record. He did not get there, but the 2,392-yard, 19-touchdown campaign — on top of a 1,965-yard 2018 season — led to the record-setting extension.

Of course, the 49ers are taking a gamble based on what McCaffrey’s 2020s have produced. A high ankle sprain early in the 2020 season began McCaffrey’s slide toward the “injury prone” label for which he has become known. In addition to injuries to both ankles over the past two years, McCaffrey has run into shoulder and hamstring maladies. In total, the former No. 8 overall pick missed 23 games from 2020-21.

The Panthers are cashing out here, with McCaffrey — chosen during Dave Gettleman‘s GM run — having played in all six games this season. CMC’s 670 scrimmage yards — 104 against the 49ers in Week 5 — rank fourth in the NFL through six games. Carolina also traded Robbie Anderson and is rumored to be willing to ship out eighth-year veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline.

The 49ers are giving up far more than they did for Emmanuel Sanders at the 2019 deadline; the veteran wideout cost third- and fourth-round picks. But McCaffrey provides a much higher ceiling and had much of the Matt Rhule era to conserve his body. McCaffrey gives the 49ers a fourth All-Pro on offense, joining George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams.

The 49ers are sacrificing much of their 2023 draft, as they do not have a 2023 first-rounder (sent to the Dolphins for the Trey Lance draft slot). But the NFC West squad still has two third-rounders in 2023, due to Washington’s Martin Mayhew GM hire and Miami’s Mike McDaniel HC move. However, this is a bit of a zag for the team. The 49ers gave Jerick McKinnon a top-five (at the time) running back deal in 2018; he missed the next two seasons. After McKinnon and Tevin Coleman‘s contracts came off their books in 2021, the 49ers have rolled with low-cost backfields. It does not get more expensive than McCaffrey at this position.

The McCaffrey family has some familiarity with the 49ers and the Shanahans as well. Christian McCaffrey’s father, Ed, is better known for his Broncos days, but the former possession receiver was on the 1994 49ers’ Super Bowl-winning team. Ed McCaffrey played for Kyle Shanahan‘s father, MikeGeorge Seifert‘s offensive coordinator on that dominant squad — before following the elder Shanahan to Denver in 1995. Ed played nine years for Mike Shanahan in Denver. Kyle Shanahan and Christian McCaffrey each spent time around the Mike Shanahan-era Broncos, though the latter was obviously a child at the time.

With three 2023 picks plus the 2024 fifth-rounder, the Panthers are collecting a somewhat surprising package for a running back. Although David Johnson brought the Cardinals DeAndre Hopkins — in a widely panned 2020 deal that featured a second-round pick going to the Texans as well — no back had brought more than merely a third-round pick since the 2013 Trent Richardson Browns-Colts swap. This trade will boost a transitioning Panthers team come April.

Carolina, which was without some ammo in this year’s draft due to trades for Sam Darnold and C.J. Henderson, sent its 2023 third-rounder to New England in order to trade up for Matt Corral. The Panthers, however, do have their own first- and second-rounders next year. With the picks the 49ers are sending, the NFC South club will have six picks in the first four rounds next year. In the meantime, the Panthers have offseason pickup D’Onta Foreman and 2021 draftee Chuba Hubbard to pick up the pieces in their backfield.

Latest On 49ers, Rams Interest In Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey

The Christian McCaffrey market is starting to heat up. Less than a week after we learned that the Panthers were fielding calls on their star running back, Aaron Wilson of tweets that trade talks are “advancing,” and several sources believe a trade could ultimately come to fruition. Wilson adds that “multiple” teams remain interested in McCaffrey and “are actively exploring trade scenarios.”

[RELATED: Bills Remain Interested In Christian McCaffrey]

A number of teams have been connected to the running back, with the 49ers presumed to be a suitor. Tim Kawakami of The Athletic believes Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are “intrigued” by adding the two-time All-Pro, and he opines that the player is likely interested in joining forces, as well. The fit is obvious; McCaffrey could join Deebo Samuel as the focal point of an innovative offense, and he could help add a spark to a unit that’s struggled a move the chains through the first six weeks of the season. Plus, as Kawakami points out, the team isn’t afraid to make a splash a big deadline splash; the team acquired Emmanuel Sanders in 2019 after sending out a third- and fourth-round pick.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t be difficulties. While Kawakami is skeptical that the Panthers would be able to garner two first-round picks for McCaffrey, there’s still a good chance the 49ers can’t outbid other suitors. The team is currently rolling without a 2023 first-round pick, which could be a factor that automatically removes San Francisco from the conversation. There’s also the matter of McCaffrey’s salary. The RB has a base number of $11.8MM in both 2023 and 2024, and considering the organization’s penchant for not overpaying at the position, there’s little chance the front office would want the RB at that number.

Still, Kawakami could see a world where the 49ers prevail. There’s a chance McCaffrey would be willing to reduce his cap number, which would eliminate any financial concerns. Further, the Panthers may not be able to fetch even a single first-round pick for their star player, in which case the 49ers would be better suited to compete with draft compensation.

Meanwhile, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic confirms (on Twitter) that the Rams are in the mix for McCaffrey, and the reporter is also skeptical that the Panthers will be able to get multiple first-round picks in a trade. Rodrigue believes that the Rams won’t be willing to get into a bidding war for the running back, especially with Carolina coming out of the gate “with such high asking terms.” However, if the Panthers are willing to lower their asking price, then the Rams could emerge as a serious threat to acquire the RB.

Bills Remain Interested In Christian McCaffrey; Latest On Panthers RB

Christian McCaffrey trade buzz cropped up during the limited Deshaun Watson sweepstakes last October and again in March, but the All-Pro running back’s market went quiet in the months leading up to this season. That has not been the case this time, with the latest batch of trade rumors persisting for a longer period.

Although the Panthers are believed to be prepared to hold onto McCaffrey if the right offer does not emerge, the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora calls a trade before the Nov. 1 deadline a “near-certainty.” McCaffrey, 26, sits fourth in the NFL in scrimmage yards (670) and has displayed good health after two injury-plagued years, re-establishing his value to some degree.

A few teams are interested in McCaffrey, including the Bills. Buffalo checked in on McCaffrey’s availability this offseason, but’s Charles Robinson notes no offer or even a substantive discussion ensued at that point. While the Bills have slow-played this, Robinson adds they would want a courtesy call from the Panthers if the prospect of a trade becomes real in the coming days. Devin Singletary is on an expiring contract, though the team drafted potential passing-down back James Cook in this year’s second round.

Other teams have followed suit, with Robinson adding this process at the check-in stage. As could be expected, the teams on the radar for McCaffrey are contenders who view a running back as a missing piece (Twitter links). The Rams have been mentioned as another suitor, and Robinson indicates the 49ers are indeed in this mix.

Initially reported as being on the CMC radar, the Broncos — McCaffrey’s hometown team, after his father (Ed) played for the franchise for nine seasons — have not been mentioned as a candidate in recent days. McCaffrey would seemingly make less sense for Denver, which has lost three straight and has Javonte Williams contracted through 2024. But the Rams are involved in a strange Cam Akers situation. The 49ers have veteran backup Jeff Wilson as their starter, with Elijah Mitchell on IR.

Mitchell’s concerning injury history may well be factoring into San Francisco’s McCaffrey interest. Both the Rams (Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller, Dante Fowler) and 49ers (Emmanuel Sanders) have made big in-season trades under their current regimes, while the Bills — home to ex-Carolina staffers Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the latter being with the team for the McCaffrey draft — have been known to covet a Panther or two.

Cost-wise, the Bills might be put off by McCaffrey’s post-2022 salaries. The resurgent franchise is not looking to add too much in future salary, considering the big-ticket payments atop its cap sheet, Jeremy Fowler of adds. McCaffrey’s still-market-topping $64MM deal calls for base salaries of $11.8MM (2023 and ’24) and $12MM (2025). These are nonguaranteed sums, and a team that trades for CMC now would owe barely $600K — thanks to an offseason restructure — this year. But a team that plans on having McCaffrey in 2023 and beyond would need to address those salaries.

David Tepper is believed to be pursuing the rumored unrealistic two-first-rounder price, Robinson tweets, but Fowler notes the team is aiming for a first-rounder and perhaps more. A recent report indicated the Panthers might be willing to accept a two-pick offer that includes at least one Day 2 selection, and The Athletic’s Joe Person notes the Panthers would likely consider a multi-pick proposal that features a Day 2 choice (subscription required).

The Panthers waiting until the offseason to try again with a trade — assuming they do not receive a worthwhile offer in the next two weeks — could commence, but the sixth-year back’s 2022 salary represents a key selling point. The team was open to unloading McCaffrey this offseason, Fowler adds, but the price point was massive (a first-round pick and a cost-controlled player). With Matt Rhule gone and the team trying to restock its draft cupboard, this could be the prime window to capitalize on McCaffrey’s renewed health.

Panthers Seeking First-Rounder Or Two-Pick Haul For Christian McCaffrey?

Christian McCaffrey‘s name continues to come up in trade rumors, and the Panthers might be moving off their spring ask of a first-round pick and change.

While Carolina is shooting for a first-rounder for the former All-Pro running back, the team is also entertaining offers headlined by a Day 2 pick, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reports. The latter package would need to include a Day 2 choice and another pick, per Jones, who adds the Panthers do not view McCaffrey as an automatic 2023 cap casualty. But the prospect of the dual-threat dynamo being moved out of Charlotte continues to gain steam.

The Panthers rebuffed multiple teams on McCaffrey recently, but they are listening on offers — whereas the likes of Brian Burns, D.J. Moore and Derrick Brown appear nonstarters in trade talks. In the spring, the Panthers were connected to wanting a first-round pick and a cost-controlled player. Has teams’ reluctance to approach that compensation level led to a revised asking price?

No running back has been traded for a first-round pick since the Browns sent Trent Richardson to the Colts during the 2013 season. Excepting the unusual DeAndre HopkinsDavid Johnson trade, no running back has been dealt for more than a third (Duke Johnson, 2019) since the Richardson swap. McCaffrey is a unique trade chip, but his position still suppresses his value to a degree. Though, CMC’s passing-game value adds more intrigue to prospective trade talks.

A few teams have been linked to McCaffrey early. The Bills, Rams, 49ers and Broncos surfaced as interested parties, though Denver’s recent swoon makes the team being buyers — especially with Javonte Williams under contract through 2024 — harder to envision. 49ers starter Elijah Mitchell is expected to return around midseason, but the productive sixth-round pick has proven injury-prone early in his career. The Bills have shown an affinity for ex-Panthers, given Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane‘s ties to Carolina. While active players from Beane and McDermott’s Charlotte stay are somewhat sparse six years later, Beane was with the Panthers when they drafted McCaffrey eighth overall in 2017.

The Rams are going through some unexpected backfield turnover. They are now likely to trade Cam Akers, with a disagreement set to call for a mid-rookie-contract divorce. Akers talks also affect Carolina’s McCaffrey discussions, since there is another back (a lower-tier player, but a starter-caliber cog) on the block. Darrell Henderson is also in a contract year, opening the door for an addition signed beyond 2022. The Rams have not been shy about splashy trades, and they did part with two picks (fourth- and sixth-rounders) for Sony Michel last year. It will take more to land CMC, but how much more?

McCaffrey, 26, would make for an expensive add. He is tied to base salaries of $11.8MM in 2023 and ’24 and a $12MM 2025 price. Those sums are nonguaranteed, so it would be interesting to see how the Panthers play this. They are believed to be open to taking on some salary in a trade, injecting more interest here, as that would increase the compensation price.

Carolina has been more resistant to move other pieces, but McCaffrey — who has not missed any games this season, after being sidelined for 23 from 2020-21 — has generated interest. The team began to dangle Robbie Anderson in trades over the weekend, and although his sideline dustup with Panthers coaches marked the end of his three-season run, but Jeremy Fowler of tweets the veteran receiver was available for around a year. McCaffrey trade buzz started when the team pursued Deshaun Watson ahead of last year’s deadline, and the team revisited the talks in March. The latest set of CMC trade rumors have persisted for a longer period, leading to the assumption these in-season sweepstakes are real.

List Of Christian McCaffrey Suitors Taking Shape?

The firing of Matt Rhule has, as expected, led to an increase in trade chatter with respect to the Panthers. Especially as many of their other young cornerstone pieces are unlikely to be moved, attention continues to center on running back Christian McCaffrey

Carolina has fielded multiple offers in recent days and weeks on the 26-year-old, but few specifics have been reported to date regarding potential suitors. On that point, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones names the Broncos, 49ers, Rams and Bills as clubs which have so far displayed “varying degrees of interest” in making a trade.

Given their respective situations, each squad on that list could represent a logical destination for McCaffrey. The Colorado native would provide Denver with a short-term replacement for lead back Javonte Williams. His ACL tear will keep him sidelined until at least the start of next season, leaving veteran Melvin Gordon to handle No. 1 duties. The latter will once again hit free agency this spring, though Williams still has two years remaining on his rookie contract, which would make a McCaffrey acquisition redundant beyond the immediate future. That timeline could be the team’s only concerns at the moment, though, given their unexpected struggles offensively.

The 49ers are likewise dealing with the absence of their No. 1 back. Elijah Mitchell is recovering from an MCL sprain, but unlike Williams he will return in 2022. With a trio consisting of veterans Jeff Wilson Jr., Tevin Coleman and rookie Tyrion Davis-Price, the team ranks in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards this season (139 per game). That figure, heavily influenced by the rushing prowess of Deebo Samuel, could steer Kyle Shanahan and Co. away from a pricey acquisition.

The Rams, on the other hand, have shown a willingness to make eye-catching moves in the past and face question marks in their league-worst run game. Cam Akers will miss tomorrow’s contest for vaguely-defined reasons, and has been underwhelming in his return from an Achilles tear this season. Regardless of his intermediate- and long-term future in Los Angeles, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets that the team has a number of other positions to consider augmenting in advance of the trade deadline, including the offensive line. McCaffrey, a Stanford alum, will nevertheless likely remain on their radar.

Buffalo has been mentioned previously as a fit for McCaffrey; the Bills reportedly inquired about trading for him this summer. Quarterback Josh Allen remains the focal point of their offense both in the air and on the ground, though a sizeable investment was made at the RB position this April with the second-round selection of James Cook. He, along with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, have operated as a committee in support of Allen’s production. Complicating any Bills trade offers is the fact that they currently have just $1.2MM in cap space – the third-lowest figure in the league, and much less than the three aforementioned teams.

How Carolina handles McCaffrey (and the level of pursuit showed by these four clubs) will be a key storyline in the build-up to November’s trade deadline.