After days of speculation, Christian McCaffrey has been traded before the deadline. The former All-Pro running back was dealt from the Panthers to the 49ers, as Carolina continues to dismantle its roster as part of its rebuild. The Panthers received four future draft picks in the deal that includes a second round pick in next year's draft.
The 49ers receive one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL. The 26-year-old McCaffrey is off to a good start this season, with 670 all-purpose yards through six games. McCaffrey will play for the same team that his father, former NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, played for when San Francisco won its most recent Super Bowl. McCaffrey will look to follow in his father's footsteps while helping the 49ers end their Super Bowl drought.
Here's a look at where the McCaffery trade ranks the among the biggest of all-time.
7. Seahawks acquire 'Beast Mode' from Bills
Despite rushing for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, Lynch was found to be expendable by the Bills midway through the 2010 season. Before the deadline, the Buffalo traded Lynch to Seattle in exchange for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth rounder.
Simply put, Lynch and the Seahawks were the perfect fit. After running over the defending champion Saints in the 2010 wild card round, Lynch earned Pro Bowl honors in each of his first four full seasons in Seattle.
He was among Seattle's key figures during the team's Super Bowl run in 2013 and NFC championship run in 2014. In six seasons with the Seahawks, Lynch rushed for 6,347 yards and 79 touchdowns during the regular season 937 yards and nine scores in 11 postseason games.
6. 49ers land Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey was dealt to the 49ers on Thursday in a blockbuster deal that landed the Panthers 2023 second-, third- and fourth-round picks, plus a fifth-rounder in 2024. This ends a six-year run in Carolina for McCaffrey, who was selected No. 8 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Stanford. He became the fastest player in league history to reach 3,000 rushing yards and 3,000 receiving yards. The 26-year-old is also tied for the most consecutive games with a reception by a running back with 57.
McCaffrey joins a 49ers team that is 3-3 following this past Sunday's loss to the Falcons. Despite their .500 record, the 49ers lead the NFC West division entering their Week 7 matchup with the Chiefs. The 49ers are clearly going all-in on this season after coming up short in last year's NFC Championship Game. San Francisco is also just three years removed from narrowly falling to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
49ers fans are surely excited to see how McCaffrey will thrive in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Like McCaffrey, Shanahan's father, Mike Shanahan, was part of the 49ers' last Super Bowl championship team. The duo will now look to make history together while following in their fathers' footsteps.
5. Dolphins deal two first-round picks for Ricky Williams
Miami ultimately traded two first-round picks -- while also swapping future fourth-round picks -- to acquire the former Heisman Trophy winner who in 2000 helped lead the Saints to the franchise's first-ever playoff win. The trade paid immediate dividends for the Dolphins, as Williams led the NFL with 1,853 yards during his first season in Miami.
Williams led the NFL in carries in each of his first two years with the Dolphins before he shockingly stepped away from the game in 2004. He returned to Miami in 2005, where he co-starred with Ronnie Brown in the Dolphins' Wild Cat offense. A suspension would sideline Williams for most of the next two seasons before he returned to help the Dolphins capture an AFC East title in 2008. Williams left Miami for good after the 2010 season as the second-leading rusher in franchise history.
As for the Saints, New Orleans experienced several lean years after the trade. They bounced back in a big way after the hiring of Sean Payton and the arrival of Drew Brees and Reggie Bush in 2006. The trio helped the Saints win the franchise's first Super Bowl in 2009.
In 1987, the Rams and Colts stunned the NFL when Indianapolis traded two players, three first-round picks and three second-round picks to Los Angeles in exchange for Dickerson, the league's reigning Offensive Player of the Year who in 1984 became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 2,100 yards in a season.
Dickerson led the Colts to the playoffs in 1987, their first playoff appearance since the franchise moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984. The following season, Dickerson led the NFL in rushing, before rushing for over 1,311 yards in 1989.
The Rams, despite losing Dickerson, would make the playoffs in each of the next three seasons that included a trip to the NFC Championship Game in 1989.
The Buffalo Bills were also part of this trade, giving up several assets that included future high picks in exchange for future All-Pro linebacker Cornelius Bennett, who would help the Bills become the first team in NFL history to appear in four consecutive Super Bowls during the 1990s.
3. Russell Wilson traded to Broncos
The sheer size of this trade makes it one of the most significant trades in NFL history. While acquiring Wilson, who still must approve the deal, the Broncos gave the Seahawks a pair of first and second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and defensive end Shelby Harris.
There's still time, but the deal hasn't work out too well for Denver so far, as Wilson and the Broncos are off to a slow start this season.
2. Rams acquire Matthew Stafford from Lions
In the middle of winter, the Rams pulled off a trade that a year later would result in a Super Bowl victory. On January 31, 2021, the Rams sent Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Lions in exchange for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
After 12 years with the Lions, Stafford quickly settled in with his new team. He threw 41 touchdowns during the regular season while helping the Rams capture the NFC West title. Stafford then led the Rams to playoff victories over the Cardinals, Buccaneers and 49ers en route to throwing three touchdowns in Los Angeles' 23-20 win over the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
1. Cowboys trade Herschel Walker in 'great train robbery'
"I find out that we had just traded the only guy on our team that was really any good. And I couldn't believe it."
Troy Aikman, needless to say, wasn't thrilled upon hearing the news that the Dallas Cowboys and new head coach Jimmy Johnson had traded their best player, running back Herschel Walker, to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a bounty of future draft picks. Walker, a former Heisman Trophy winner and 1,500-yard back the previous season, was leaving a team that would ultimately go 1-15 during Johnson's first season in Dallas. While the trade was widely unpopular at the time, Johnson was confident that it was the right thing to do.
"One agent said it's the biggest trade he has ever seen in the NFL," Johnson said during a press conference following the trade, "and one owner said it's a great train robbery. Whatever it is, we're happy with it."
The Cowboys used the picks to help build what would become one of the best rosters in NFL history. In 1990, they used their first pick acquired from the trade to select Emmitt Smith, who would go onto become the NFL's all-time leading rusher. Over the following two drafts, the Cowboys would select future Pro Bowl defensive tackle Russell Maryland, perennial starting cornerback Kevin Smith, and future three-time All-Pro safety Darren Woodson.
Along with several other acquisitions, the Cowboys went from NFL doormats to NFL champions. In 1992, just three years after pulling off the greatest deadline deal in league history, Dallas won the first of its three Super Bowl wins over a four-year span.
"I couldn't understand it at the time, but I'm glad they viewed it differently," Aikman said during an interview with NFL Films. "It certainly got us over the hump in a hurry."