Oct 24, 2022 - Sports

Christian McCaffrey makes Niners debut

49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Running back Christian McCaffrey made his 49ers debut yesterday roughly 48 hours after he found out he was heading to San Francisco.

What’s happening: Last Friday, the Niners finalized a major trade with the Carolina Panthers to bring McCaffrey aboard.

  • In return, the 49ers gave up their second, third, and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a fifth-round selection in 2024.

By the numbers: McCaffrey saw limited action against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, with eight carries for 38 yards and two catches for 24 yards.

  • The Niners lost 44-23.

The intrigue: It’s a homecoming of sorts for McCaffrey, who played for Stanford in college.

  • There’s also a family connection, with McCaffrey’s father Ed McCaffrey — a former wide receiver for the Denver Broncos — having played under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan’s dad, Mike Shanahan.

Why it matters: With a 3-4 record this season, the Niners hope bringing McCaffrey on can boost their hopes of making the playoffs and potentially another Super Bowl run.

What they’re saying: “You only do this when you have a belief in your team as it's constructed," Niners general manager John Lynch said last week regarding the trade. "We understand we have a lot of work to do, and this isn't a magic pill that's going to fix all of our ills as a team … but we do still very much believe in this team, and that's why we took a swing at an excellent football player."

Yes, but: Running backs, like plenty of other positions in football, are extremely vulnerable to injury and so far in his six years in the NFL McCaffrey has been far from immune.

  • Over the past two seasons, he's missed 23 out of 33 games.

What’s next: The Niners go on the road next week to take on their rival Los Angeles Rams.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Francisco.

More San Francisco stories