The shot of Matt Rhule has, as expected, led to an increase in trade talks regarding the Panthers. Especially since many of their other young showpieces are unlikely to be moved, attention continues to focus on come back Christian McCaffrey.
Carolina have made several offers in recent days and weeks for the 26-year-old, but few details have been reported so far regarding the potential suitors. On this point, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones names the Broncos, 49ers, Rams and Bills as clubs that have so far shown “more or less interest” in making a trade.
Given their respective situations, each team on this list could represent a logical destination for McCaffrey. The Colorado native would provide Denver with a short-term replacement for the return Javonte Williams. His ACL tear will keep him out until at least the start of next season, leaving the veteran Melvin Gordon to handle No. 1 duties. The latter will hit free agency again this spring, though Williams still has two years left on his rookie contract, which would make an acquisition of McCaffrey redundant beyond the immediate future. This timeline might be the team’s only concern at the moment, given their unexpected offensive struggles.
The 49ers are also dealing with the absence of their No. 1 back. Elijah Mitchell is recover from an MCL sprainbut unlike Williams he will return in 2022. With a trio made up of veterans Jeff Wilson Jr., Tevin Coleman and rookie Tyrion Davis Price, the team ranks in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards this season (139 per game). This figure, heavily influenced by the hasty prowess of Deebo Samuelcould direct Kyle Shanahan and Co. far from an expensive acquisition.
The Rams, on the other hand, have shown a willingness to make eye-catching moves in the past and face question marks in their worst game in the league. Cam Akers will miss tomorrow’s contest for vaguely defined reasons, and has been disappointing on his return from an Achilles tear this season. Regardless of his mid to long-term future in Los Angeles, The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue tweet that the team has a number of other positions to consider increasing before the trade deadline, including the offensive line. McCaffrey, a Stanford alum, will likely remain on their radar, however.
Buffalo was previously mentioned as a fit for McCaffrey; bills would have inquired about the trade for him this summer. Strategist Josh Allen remains the focal point of their attack both in the air and on the ground, although a significant investment was made in the RB position in April with the second-round selection of james cook. Him, with Single diviner and Zack Moss, functioned as a committee to support Allen’s production. Complicating any trade offers from the Bills, they currently only have $1.2 million in cap space — the third-lowest number in the league, and far less than the aforementioned three teams.
How Carolina handles McCaffrey (and the level of pursuit shown by those four clubs) will be a key storyline in the build-up to the November trade deadline.