Shortly after the news that head coach Matt Rhule was fired after yet another loss, rumors of potential trades for the Carolina Panthers began to swirl. At the center of those discussions has been All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who appears healthy again after missing ten games in 2021.
With the Panthers mired in another 1-4 rebuilding season without a franchise quarterback on the roster, it may make the most sense to begin parting ways with older members of their team, who may be better equipped to help another organization compete immediately. That’s where CMC comes in.
While previous reports suggested the Panthers weren’t fielding trade calls on their Pro Bowl running back, that no longer appears to be the case. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, The Panthers are now listening to McCaffrey offersbut an NFL insider cautions that the deal may not be a simple move.
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Why trading Christian McCaffrey is easy to pull off
- Christian McCaffrey Stats (in 2022): 324 rushing yards, 2 TDs, 188 receiving yards, 1 TD catch
The Panthers also turned down at least two trade offers from different teams last week, but are in no rush to trade what many would say is their franchise player. ESPN’s report from Schefter suggests the Panthers could be after a “high draft or multiple picks” and have no problem keeping their dual-threat Pro Bowler until the Nov. 1 trade deadline.
As Schefter noted, any McCaffrey trade won’t be easy to pull off. It’s not that teams have no interest in adding all-purpose help to their offense. That couldn’t be further from the case.
Not only has he been injury prone in the past, CMC is still owed money 36.2 million dollars in the next three seasons. That’s a lot more than most teams are typically willing to spend on a quarterback, especially one with a long injury history like the 26-year-old McCaffrey, who has missed 23 games since 2020-21.
However, trading for McCaffrey right now is a lot easier for teams to fit under the cap than many would assume. McCaffrey actually restructured his contract before the 2022 season and is only owed $1.035 million this year. Basically, any NFL team can afford to fit McCaffrey on their payroll for 2022; it’s more about whether they’re willing to part with draft compensation.
Carolina has just four draft selections in what projects to be a deep 2023 NFL Draft class that’s loaded with quarterbacks at the top, which the Panthers still desperately need. If there is a team that identifies McCaffrey as a must-have, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a deal that makes sense for both parties.
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List of potential CMC trade destinations
While almost any team could benefit from a player of McCaffrey’s caliber, there are only a select few that really make sense to add a six-year pro. If McCaffrey is traded, he will certainly find himself in another situation where the top choice in the backfield will be obvious. Not only will he have a major role, but CMC is more likely to join a contender, as he has played in just one postseason contest in his career.
Here’s a list of Christian McCaffrey’s trade destinations that make the most sense, in no particular order.
- Baltimore Ravens
- Buffalo Bills
- Denver Broncos (home state, where his father, Ed, played)
- Los Angeles Rams
- Miami Dolphins
- San Francisco 49ers
- Washington Commanders (Ron Rivera buckles up, unless his seat is too hot)
Whoever gets McCaffrey will add an experienced playmaker not only in the running game, but also an explosive athlete who can elevate the team’s passing effort as well. While the Panthers may not be ready to part ways with the talented linebacker, he’s clearly drawing a lot of interest ahead of the NFL trade deadline.
Related: 5 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey Trade Scenarios