The San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and Philadelphia Eagles are among the top teams interested in acquiring running back Christian McCaffrey in a trade with the last-place Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers are one of the worst teams in the NFL this season with a 1-5 record and they’re fielding offers for McCaffrey ahead of the trade deadline on November 1.
The Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule last week and still lost to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday to become the first team in the NFL with five losses. The front office insists they aren’t having a fire sale with the trade deadline looming.
The Panthers wish to obtain a couple of first-round picks for McCaffrey, but they’re seeking a package of picks. Heading into the 2023 NFL Draft later this year, the Panthers only have four picks at their disposal because they traded the third-round, sixth-round, and seventh-round picks from 2023 in previous transactions.
McCaffrey missed 13 games in 2020 and another 10 games last season due to numerous injuries. A healthy McCaffrey has appeared in every game this season and looks like his old self. He rushed 85 times for 393 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 33 receptions for 277 yards and one touchdown. Overall, he’s racked up 670 yards from scrimmage with three total touchdowns for the offensively challenged Panthers.
49ers, Rams, Eagles, Bills Eyeing McCaffrey
Although McCaffrey signed a four-year extension worth $46 million in 2020, he re-worked his contract in the offseason to help the Panthers get under the salary cap. McCaffrey will earn just $1.035 million this season, which makes him an attractive trade candidate.
The 49ers have a banged-up backfield with Elijah Mitchell (MCL sprain) and rookie Tyrion Davis-Price (high-ankle sprain) out with injuries. Backup Jeff Wilson has done a bang-up job, but McCaffrey would give the 49ers’ offense a huge boost.
The Los Angeles Rams look awful this season, and it’s not just the proverbial Super Bowl hangover. A dinged-up Matthew Stafford struggled this season, and Cam Akers has been ineffective out of the backfield. While the Rams look to trade Akers, a dual-threat running back like McCaffrey would thrive in Sean McVay’s offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the only undefeated team in the NFL this season at 6-0. Mike Sanders has been inconsistent at running back and he’s a free agent next season. Adding McCaffrey to the mix would provide the Eagles with stability for the next few seasons.
The Buffalo Bills have a high-octane offense thanks to quarterback Josh Allen, but their running attack is one of their few weak points. Bills Mafia employs a running back by committee with Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and rookie James Cook. McCaffrey’s catching ability makes the Bills’ offense even more dangerous as they seek their first-ever Super Bowl victory.
The Kansas City Chiefs have Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon in their backfield, but McCaffrey would provide Patrick Mahomes with another weapon in Andy Reid’s arsenal. If the Chiefs acquire McCaffrey in a trade, their top-two receiving threats would be their tight end with Travis Kelce and running back with McCaffrey.
WR Robbie Anderson also on Trade Block
The Panthers would like to trade wide receiver Robbie Anderson. Anderson had close ties to Rhule when he played for the Panthers’ ex-head coach at Temple. The Panthers entertained trade options for Anderson before his well-publicized blowup on the sidelines of the Rams game.
Television cameras caught Anderson and wide receivers coach Joe Dailey in a heated argument in the first half. The two jawed about playing time.
When Anderson and Dailey got into another verbal spat on the sidelines in the third quarter, interim head coach Steve Wilks stepped in. Wilks kicked Anderson out of the game and told him to go back to the locker room.
“I was honestly confused,” Anderson said after the game. “I wanted to be in the game. I’ve never had somebody yell to get out of the game. So, I was honestly confused and upset by that.”
No one is bigger than the team,” said Wilks. “I’m not going to focus and put a lot of attention on one individual.”
In six games with the Panthers this season, Anderson caught 13 passes for 206 yards and just one touchdown.
With a base salary of $1.035 million, Anderson also has a trade-worthy contact.
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