Here’s how the 49ers surpassed the Rams in trading Christian McCaffrey

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs past Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Former Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, 22, will be reuniting with Bobby Wagner, 45, and the Rams, this time as a member of NFC West rivals the San Francisco 49ers. (Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

The Carolina Panthers traded running back Christian McCaffrey for the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, who beat the Rams and other teams for the versatile star.

Here’s why the 49ers landed McCaffrey and what that means for Rams:

The 49ers had more draft capital than the Rams: McCaffrey’s price didn’t include a first-round draft pick, which apparently didn’t work against the Rams, who have never been afraid to trade them – see deals for Jared Goff (2016), Brandin Cooks (2018), Jalen Ramsey (2019) and Matthew Stafford (2021).

The Rams don’t have a first-round pick until 2024.

The 49ers reportedly sent second-, third-, and fourth-round picks and a fifth-round pick to the Panthers for McCaffrey in 2024 in 2023.

The Rams have second- and third-round picks in the 2023 draft, but no fourth-round picks.

The Rams are still struggling to run back: Coach Sean McVay said the Rams are looking to trade running back Cam Akers, who didn’t play against the Panthers because of an issue McVay described as “internal.”

McVay didn’t rule out Akers staying with the Rams, but there is clearly a split.

Darrell Henderson is in the final year of his rookie contract and Malcolm Brown looks like a short-term fix for a veteran. Ronnie Rivers was drafted into the roster from the practice team against the Panthers. He had a carry with no gain.

Les Snead will no doubt close a deal or two before the November 1st trading deadline: It’s not in the Rams’ nature to stand still.

In recent seasons, in the weeks and days leading up to the close, Snead dealt for edge rusher Dante Fowler (2018), Ramsey (2019) and edge rusher Von Miller (2021). He also signed receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021.

The Rams could use offensive linemen, an edge rusher, a running back and maybe a safety.

McCaffrey will make it even harder for the Rams in the NFC West: The Rams have not defeated the 49ers in a regular season game since 2018, a seven-straight loss streak.

Now 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan can direct an offense that includes star running back/receiver/occasional passer Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and McCaffrey.

And quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo usually plays like Joe Montana against the Rams.

The Rams will see McCaffrey soon: In the Rams’ 10-24 win over the Panthers last Sunday, McCaffrey ran for 69 yards in 13 carries and caught seven passes for 89 yards, including a 49-yard catch and run.

McCaffrey will return to SoFi Stadium next Sunday when the 49ers play the Rams for the second time this season.

On October 3, the 49ers went 24-9 against the Rams in Monday Night Football at Levi’s Stadium.

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.


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