Three days after being acquired by the San Francisco 49ers, All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey will make his debut with the team.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media was the first to report on Saturday night that McCaffrey will be on the field for San Francisco’s Week 7 outing against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
It was not known if McCaffrey would make his Week 7 debut for waiting until San Francisco meets the defending champion Los Angeles Rams in Southern California next Sunday.
Apparently, San Francisco’s higher-ups heeded his call to play in front of the running back’s new home crowd on Sunday. McCaffrey had been campaigning to play despite not having a full practice with the 49ers after the trade became official Thursday night.
How the San Francisco 49ers plan to use Christian McCaffrey on Sunday
The 49ers have a play package planned for McCaffrey in his debut, sources confirmed. Exactly how many snaps McCaffrey will be on the field remains to be seen. But he is not expected to exceed 25 or 30.
The fact that McCaffrey hasn’t had much time to learn the San Francisco playbook complicates things a bit more. But he is a veteran with plenty of experience in outside zone blocking schemes. That should make this a smooth transition from Carolina.
Right now, Jeff Wilson will start and be the featured running back in a game San Francisco must win to avoid an ugly 3-4 start to the season. As for McCaffrey, he’s beyond excited to bring him back to the Bay Area.
“I’m extremely excited. Obviously, I have a bit of history with Coach Shanahan. I can’t express how happy I am to be here,” Christian McCaffrey said after a blockbuster trade was announced.
McCaffrey’s father, Ed, played with Shanahan’s father, Mike, with the Denver Broncos from 1995 to 2003. The older McCaffrey was also a member of the 49ers’ Super Bowl-winning team when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in 1994. As for Kyle Shanahan, he actually babysat McCaffrey when the running back was a youngster.
The Bay Area’s ties don’t end there. McCaffrey starred for Stanford from 2014 to 2016, finishing second in Heisman voting as a sophomore in 2015.
McCaffrey, 26, heads to the 49ers after amassing 670 total yards and three touchdowns in six games with the Panthers. From 2018-19, he posted a combined 4,357 yards with 43 touchdowns while catching 223 passes.
He appears to be back in pre-injury form after playing in a combined 10 games over the previous two seasons.
San Francisco is banking on that after exhausting four draft picks to acquire the high-priced running back from Carolina. Despite a minimal cap hit this season, McCaffrey will count $12 million against the cap in 2023 and 2024 before that number increases to $12.2 million in 2025.
San Francisco knows very well that McCaffrey will be a big part of its future going forward.
“This is not a rental. So that was something that you think about right now. And that was something that, at least for me and definitely for John (Lynch), was much more appealing, knowing that if we have it, we just contractually and stuff, he’s going to be here. We don’t have to take any chances next February,” Shanahan said after the McCaffrey trade was made official.
That begins Sunday against Kansas City in a rematch of Super Bowl LIV from February 2020.