Insider Links 49ers To NFC South All-Pro Performer

San Francisco 49ers, Christian McCaffrey

Getty 10/19/2022

Ah, the San Francisco 49ers and Christian McCaffrey; two parties that have relatively little in common and yet remain firmly linked based on rumors, reports, and genuine fan interest to see how Kyle Shanahan’s offense would run with one of the best dual-threat performers in the NFL today. A sort of “reverse Deebo Samuel,” who can impact an offense in both the receiving and rushing game as a veritable moveable chess piece, McCaffrey has reportedly drawn interest from at least six teams across the NFL, with ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler specifically ID-ing the Niners as a team to watch in his “NFL trade deadline 2022: Early buzz, rumors, teams that could deal” story, in addition, to talk about the cap implications of trading the Stanford product to a contending team.

A significant footnote: The Panthers restructured McCaffrey’s contract in March, pushing his base salary to around the minimum. That means a team acquiring McCaffrey would owe him a prorated version of $1.12 million this year. His contract becomes more complicated in 2023, with a salary of $11.8 million, which is not guaranteed.

That could be problematic for a team such as Buffalo, which wants to keep its cap outlook clean for next year due to many top-dollar players on the payroll. But if a team is looking for a one-year rental to catalyze a championship offense, McCaffrey might be the best bet. At the least, Buffalo and others would love to have McCaffrey’s skill in their backfields. The Rams and San Francisco 49ers have been implicated in McCaffrey’s market, too.

To many fans, the idea of trading McCaffrey back to the Bay Area is a certified dream, as his work just west of Palo Alto is a big reason why he was the eighth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Still, with players like Nick Bosa and Mike McGlinchey needing long-term contracts of their own, the prospect of fitting $11.8 million for a running back under the cap could prove a tough ask, even if John Lynch is able to re-work his contract into something more manageable long-term.

The San Francisco 49ers Get Encouraging Elijah Mitchell Update

Speaking with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area on 49ers Game Plan, Shanahan provided some encouraging news on the potential return of Elijah Mitchell, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1 that swiftly landed him on IR and has kept him out of action ever since, as transcribed by 49ers Webzone.

“We’re hoping to get him back after the bye week,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. “From what I’ve heard, there’s been no setbacks, so that would be huge for us.”

With Mitchell out and rookie third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price also bogged down with injuries through his maiden voyage through the NFL, the 49ers have received surprisingly good production from fifth-year pro Jeff Wilson, who has already surpassed his 2021 production in three fewer games as the team’s new starting back.

Kyle Shanahan Likes What He Sees From Jeff Wilson, Tevin Coleman

After detailing Mitchell’s potential return, Maiocco was asked about how Shanahan felt about his current one-two punch of Wilson and Tevin Coleman, and the sixth-year head coach gave a glowing endorsement of the duo.

“Both those guys, we’ve been with them for a while,” Shanahan said. “They have experience with us here. They know our coaches well. They know our players well. And they really are up for anything that we ask. And they go so hard. They give all they can. They’re talented dudes who are fearless, and they never stop running.”

Shanahan also touched on the return of Davis-Price, who played just one offensive snap in Week 6 after a three-week absence.

“We’ve had to hold it down while [Mitchell’s been] gone,” Shanahan said. “These guys have stepped it up. Ty Davis-Price has gotten back in practice this week, so it’s been nice to get him back, and hopefully, we’ll just keep getting everyone healthy.”

For fans who have been waiting for the cavalry to arrive, the running back position could look markedly different after the Bye week versus the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6, which may hinder the chances of even needing to trade away an asset in the realm of a first-round pick for Christian McCaffrey.

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