The San Francisco 49ers stunned the football world late Thursday night when they completed a deal to acquire running back Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers. They dealt away four draft picks for the McCaffrey, including second, third, and fourth round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
McCaffrey might be limited in Week 7 due to the quick turnaround, but he’ll be a big part of this offense as he gets more comfortable with the playbook. And the 49ers get him for a veritable bargain salary in 2022. McCaffrey’s contract called for a $1,035,000 in 2022 thanks to a deal that included some big up-front money. Given we are entering Week 7, the 49ers will home a shade under $700,000 the rest of the way, per David Lombardi.
The 49ers will have McCaffrey under contract through the 2025 season, but his base salary rockets up in 2023, per Over The Cap. McCaffrey is due $11,800,000 in 2023 and again in 2024, and then $12,000,000 in 2025. All three years also include a $200,000 workout bonus.
It’s safe to say the 49ers and McCaffrey will figure out a way to restructure his deal. He will likely turn a good chunk of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus that can be prorated over the remainder of the deal to soften the blow. The 49ers have a little over $4 million in cap space right now. They need to maintain some to deal with inevitable injuries and needs, so they would likely need to clear more cap space to restructure his deal this year. More than likely, they’ll wait until the new league year next spring to adjust this deal.
In the meantime, the Panthers will carry $8,095,750 in dead money this year due to the trade, and then another $18,352,250 next year because this deal happened after June 1. It’s a tough hit, but for a team starting a rebuilding process with a ton of draft picks, it’s a hit they’re willing to take in the short term.