Few would argue the thought that when healthy, Christian McCaffrey ranks within the top running backs in the NFL. Of course, as the Carolina Panthers and several fantasy owners know, CMC has rarely been full strength for the past two seasons, having played just 10 out of a possible 33 regular-season games.
Meanwhile, in 2019, his last full season, McCaffrey racked up an astonishing 2,392 yards from scrimmage, which was more than any other player. Not only is the yardage marker an incredible achievement, it still ranks as the third-most in NFL history. That’s even with all 32 teams playing an extra game during the 2021-22 season.
Basically, the evidence is there. At his best, McCaffrey is an MVP-caliber talent. Yet, obviously, CMC hurts his teams immensely if he’s sitting on the bench, inactive.
At this point, head coach Matt Rhule has coached more games without his superstar offensive weapon than with him. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the coach is growing tired of the same old story each season, especially with his job on the line.
Could Christian McCaffrey be traded for a QB?
Of course he could be. Trading CMC might be general manager Scott Fitterer’s best trade chip if the Panthers want to solve their quarterback conundrum, hoping to either move on from Sam Darnold or add a better solution.
NFL insider Michael Fabiano of SiriusXM believes there’s a real possibility Christian McCaffrey is traded this offseason.
The biggest obstacle to a McCaffrey trade is the cap hit the team would suffer from parting ways with him in 2022.
- Christian McCaffrey contract (2022): $18.5M dead salary hit if traded before June 1 – Cap savings of $4.2M
There is a way around taking an $18.5 million penalty to their 2022 salary cap if they can reach a contract restructure prior to him being dealt.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what teams would be willing to offer for the uber-talented running/receiving backfield threat. I will say, he’d look awfully special playing for the Miami Dolphins in Mike McDaniel’s new system predicated on establishing the run, while utilizing their backs in various pass-catching roles.
If the Dolphins seek a top proven playmaking running back this offseason, don’t be surprised if they try and acquire the All-Pro tailback. While that may not necessarily provide the Panthers with a quarterback directly, it could add to their draft capital, having just six picks in April’s selection process.