The Carolina Panthers are in the initial stages of a rebuild, ready to start the next stage of their franchise over the next several months. Christian McCaffrey may not be part of those long-term plans in Carolina.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones recently confirmed that the Panthers are listening to trade offers for McCaffrey, although an ESPN report has indicated a deal may not be easy to complete. On Sunday, NFL Media's Peter Schrager said on FOX's pregame show that it would take multiple first-round picks for the Panthers to even consider trading McCaffrey or any of their other top players. A fire sale following the recent firing of Matt Rhule, however, is not part of the Panthers' plans.
"They will listen, though, and that includes Christian McCaffrey, that include the stars on defense," Schrager said. "But it's going to [take] multiple picks, and multiple round picks before they even start listening about trading off their prime assets."
The Panthers have already rejected two offers for McCaffrey this year. The Panthers are seeking high draft picks in exchange for McCaffrey, who has four years and $63.338 million remaining on his contract.
McCaffrey renegotiated his deal to make $1.035 million in base salary in 2022, making it easier for a team to fit him under their salary cap this season, but it would only save $1,198,500 in cap space if it were to release him in 2023. Carolina has just four picks in the 2023 draft, which makes receiving assets for McCaffrey a premium in a potential return.
McCaffrey has played all five games this season, rushing 72 times for 324 yards and two touchdowns (4.5 yards per carry) while also catching 26 passes for 188 yards and a score (7.2 yards per catch). He's just one of four players in the league (Cooper Kupp, Nick Chubb and Saquon Barkley) to have four games with 100 or more scrimmage yards this season -- accomplishing the feat in four straight games.
McCaffrey is the fastest player in NFL history to total 3,000 career rushing yards and 3,000 career receiving yards, doing so in 57 career games. He has the most games with 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in a player's first five seasons (22) and is tied for the most consecutive games with a reception by a running back in NFL history (57).
Just 26 years old, McCaffrey could be the missing piece toward a team winning a Super Bowl championship. The trade deadline in the NFL is Nov. 1.