NFL Exec: Christian McCaffrey Trade Price Driven by 49ers-Rams Rivalry, Not His Value

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 24, 2022

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 23: Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers paid a high price to acquire Christian McCaffrey, but only because it came down to a bidding war with the Los Angeles Rams.

"The price was driven by Niners versus Rams, not by Christian McCaffrey," an executive involved in the trade talks told Peter King of NBC Sports.

San Francisco sent the Carolina Panthers three 2023 draft picks—in the second round, third round and fourth round—and a 2024 fifth-round pick in exchange for the star running back. As King reported, the Rams didn't want to give up too many picks in the 2023 draft after already dealing away its first-, fourth- and fifth-round picks.

According to Peter Schrager of Fox Sports (h/t Dov Kleiman), the Rams offered three picks to Carolina, but they couldn't match the 49ers' offer that featured a 2024 fourth-round pick.

While both teams wanted to add a potential game-changing player, keeping the running back away from a division rival also clearly played a role in this situation.

"I'm glad he's not there," 49ers general manager John Lynch said of McCaffrey going to the Rams.


John Lynch discusses how the Rams' interest in McCaffrey influenced 49ers, and how he tried to get the deal done early:<br><br>"I was trying to because I know their propensity to come in late and go big. I was trying to get it done before, but that wasn't going to happen." <a href="https://t.co/Xe6UuayUeX">pic.twitter.com/Xe6UuayUeX</a>

Head coach Kyle Shanahan also discussed the major swing of the trade.

"I think everybody would love the opportunity to have a player like Christian," the coach said, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "So, I think everyone looks into it, but it's also nice to keep a good player away from the team that we have to compete with year in and year out."

McCaffrey had 38 rushing yards and 24 receiving yards in limited playing time during his 49ers debut in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but he is certain to have a bigger impact going forward.

The Rams, meanwhile, will have to keep searching the market for a running back to improve an offense that ranks 31st in rushing yards and 31st in yards per carry.