When the San Francisco 49ers acquired Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers, it effectively made Jeff Wilson a lame duck. Sure, he could have finished out the season with the team, playing a hybrid second/third RB role behind the Stanford product, but he was going to hit the open market at the end of the season and was unlikely to re-sign in San Francisco unless he accepted a deal in the same realm as his current $1.085 million-per-year contract value.
Speaking with reporters in Miami, Wilson made it clear that he was not only open to being moved before the trade deadline, but actually requested a deal, as transcribed by The Phinsider.
“It was something that I asked (for),” Wilson said of the trade. “There’s a lot of love over there, so they understand. They understand the situation, so they knew where I was at and where I was trying to go. So it was a (mutual) agreement thing.”
“Because the type of person I am, I try to focus on the now. So I was still playing with them. I was still getting ready for games with them. So that was my concern. And once I asked where I landed, I had no clue. So that was something I couldn’t control, so I didn’t really worry about it.”
Jeff Wilson Embraces A Mini San Francisco 49ers Reunion In Miami
When asked by reporters about playing in Miami with McDaniel and Raheem Mostert, Wilson lit up about the opportunity.
“Man, it felt like a reunion,” Wilson said, “When I first came in the league, those were the guys I knew. Raheem – like nobody knows, but when I was undrafted, he was the person that took me out to breakfast and sat down and explained everything to me and talked to me and told me what to expect, how to work.”
“So before I even played a down, before I even knew who he was, before he even really knew who I was – he took me out to eat, brought me in, just gave me that big brother feel. So that’s the type of person he is. And Mike (McDaniel), man. Mike is Mike. Y’all know, Mike, so we’ve been tied in ever since we met.”
John Lynch Isn’t Concerned With Christian McCaffrey’s Price In 2023
In addition to playing time, part of why the 49ers traded away Wilson was because he was going to be a free agent in 2023 and the team was unlikely to pay him when McCaffrey’s annual salary is about to skyrocket. Fortunately, Lynch explained to The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on The TK Show podcast that he isn’t overly concerned with the 10-figure sum McCaffrey will be owed in 2023 thanks to the contract previously agreed to by the Carolina Panthers, as transcribed by 49ers WebZone.
“I was blown away because sometimes these teams do conversions and things to help their cap out, and I believe that’s what Carolina did,” Lynch explained. “As a result, Christian is completely pre-paid for this year. So that’s why the comp got so high too. To have the opportunity at a player like that at the minimum salary, that never happens. And that was the case here.”
“Sure, he’s top of the market in the running back world moving forward, but I think Christian is so much more than a running back. I think that’s actually a pretty good number for us. Players like that, you make it work, and we’ve got a lot of smart people here who help me along with that type of planning, and I think we’re in good shape. I really do.”
After running for, catching, and throwing a touchdown in his first start with the 49ers, it’s clear McCaffrey is a whole lot more than just a between-the-tackles rusher in Shanahan’s offense.