As LA Rams rest, 49ers all-in on trade for RB Christian McCaffrey

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

The debate over whether or not the LA Rams should trade for Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is no longer the question. Even though the LA Rams are clearly in need of offensive firepower, have a strong need to reinforce the roster at running back, and were in the mix over trading for running back Christian McCaffrey, the Rams lost to the San Franciso 49ers once more.

Reports are now surfacing that it is the 49ers, and not the LA Rams, who have pulled the trigger on what could very likely be a huge mid-season blockbuster trade. Fortune does indeed favor the bold, and the Niners apparently pretty darned bold right now:

While the Rams pondered their next move, the 49ers clearly see that the best ticket to the NFL playoffs this season is to win the NFC West Division. Likewise, it’s so hard to argue against McCaffrey being anything but a nearly perfect fit for the 49ers’ offense. The 49ers are already a competing rushing offense, averaging 124 yards on the ground per game, which is good enough for the 12th-best rushing offense in the NFL.

But with McCaffrey, even at mid-season, you change the complexion of that offense completely.  While not trying to throw any shade at San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, McCaffrey in that offense converts Jimmy G from a QB who may need to win some games into a game manager.

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Perfect player for a perfect system

Now, the 49ers can truly strategize to play to their strengths: Run the football, pick their spots to pass, and depend on their dominating defense. Considering that the weather is turning colder, it’s a brilliant strategy and one that I had hopes for the LA Rams to adopt.

Okay, so what will this all cost them? In all honesty, a price that the LA Rams COULD have paid, to be brutally honest.

So why didn’t the LA Rams pull the trigger? Simply stated, McCaffrey’s salary cap hits over the next three seasons are a huge deterrent. But keep in mind that is not an issue for the 49ers, who lose QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s salary from their books at the end of this season, and will only have to pay the far less expensive salary of QB Trey Lance in 2023.

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It’s a bold move by the 49ers, that’s for sure.

Just as a reminder, this is the second time that the underwhelming NFC West Division has bolstered its roster by rummaging through the Carolina Panthers’ roster and helping themselves to their discarded offensive weapons. Just days ago, the Arizona Cardinals traded for Panthers WR Robbie Anderson.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the LA Rams offense is the worst in the division, and shows no immediate signs of climbing up from among the worst offenses in the NFL.

As a side note, RB Christian McCaffrey gained 69 yards on 13 carries against the Rams in Game 6. McCaffrey also caught seven of eight passes for 89 yards against the Rams as well. If you had any fears about the rematch between the 49ers and the Rams after the BYE, you have good reason to have them now.

The 49ers just got better. Now, it’s up to the LA Rams to respond. Will they?

Stay tuned.

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