The Carolina Panthers reportedly seek multiple first-round picks for a Christian McCaffrey trade, but the team faces a tough running back market in 2023.
The firing of former Panthers head coach Matt Rhule seems to have sparked the beginning of a franchise rebuild, with no move more extreme than trading star running back Christian McCaffrey.
Reports are now coming out from NFL insiders that the Panthers are contemplating a trade for their offensive centerpiece, especially since their quarterback carousel hasn’t panned out as the team may have hoped. McCaffrey, who hasn’t seen the playoffs since his 11-5 rookie season, has done all he humanly can to carry the Panthers throughout the past four seasons. The team finished with a losing record every time, putting McCaffrey in a situation not all that different from Barry Sanders.
Still, McCaffrey committed to the team in 2020 with a four-year, $64 million extension that made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history at the time, but the team is now tasked with making a drastic decision. If it’s time to rebuild, they’ll need to do without McCaffrey.
NFL Network’s Peter Schrager wanted to dispel myths that the Panthers are looking to have a firesale of their best talent on both sides of the ball. As Schrager describes it, the Panthers are “listening,” but they won’t sell McCaffrey or any defensive star for less than they’re worth.
Potential Christian McCaffrey trade faces stiff competition in a crowded RB market
McCaffrey may be a challenge to sell not only because of the high asking price, but because the NFL might see the “richest and deepest free agent RB class” in NFL history, according to Adam Schefter.
The Broncos, Seahawks and Bills are just a few teams in desperate need of a running back like McCaffrey, but teams may also have the choice of Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery, just to name a few.
The Panthers are already in a difficult place after firing Rhule as they stare down a 1-4 record. Trading McCaffrey could be a win-win for both teams involved, if it happens at all, but it’ll be quite the heist to pull off.