The 2022 NFL trade deadline isn't until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 1, but the Carolina Panthers aren't waiting to kickstart their rebuild. After shipping off former 1,000-yard receiver Robbie Anderson to Arizona early this week, they have traded two-time All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers, who are clearly going all-in to win Super Bowl 57. The SportsLine Projection Model isn't high on the move, but Caesars Sportsbook has upgraded the Niners' odds.
It's not clear if McCaffrey will debut with his new team at home vs. Kansas City on Sunday with the trade happening so late in the week (reports are that he likely will play but only in red-zone packages), but if so it will be a homecoming of sorts for him, as McCaffrey of course starred at Stanford in the Bay Area. The 26-year-old had a historic 2019 season, during which he had 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving, only the third player to ever to accomplish the feat. That earned him him a mammoth contract extension, but he's had trouble staying healthy since. McCaffrey was limited to three games in 2020 and seven last year.
He has played all six in 2022 and has carried 85 times for 393 yards and two scores and caught 33 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown. His 670 yards from scrimmage this season ranks fourth in the NFL. Those are pretty good numbers considering the Carolina quarterback situation and the rest of the offense around him.
San Francisco sent second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-round pick in 2024 to Carolina. What helped the 49ers facilitate the trade was a whopping six extra third-round compensatory draft picks they received for losing Robert Saleh to the Jets, Mike McDaniel to the Dolphins and Martin Mayhew to the Commanders in recent offseasons. Any team that loses a minority assistant coach who becomes a head coach or loses a personnel executive who becomes a GM receives third-round compensatory picks in each of the next two drafts. Saleh, McDaniel and Mayhew all are minorities.
The Niners have a good young running back in Elijah Mitchell, who rushed for 963 yards and five TDs last year, but he also missed five games and went down injured in Week 1 this year. He isn't likely to return until after the team's bye in Week 9. Jeff Wilson is a solid back, too, but Kyle Shanahan can never have enough tailbacks.
The SportsLine Projection Model (see below) had forecast the Niners for 9.5 wins and that number has only risen to 9.7 after the acquisition of McCaffrey. To win the NFC West, they went from 49% to 52.5%, 9.2% to 10.7% for the conference title, and 4.0% to 4.8% to capture Super Bowl 57. Essentially, the Model didn't think the Niners' weakness was in the ground game or missing a running/receiving threat – they have Deebo Samuel, after all.
Caesars Sportsbook was more impressed: The Niners went from +1800 to +1400 to win Super Bowl 57, +700 to +600 in the NFC and +105 to -110 in the division.
If you are wondering, San Francisco already played at Carolina in Week 5, winning 37-15. McCaffrey had 104 total yards and a TD.
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