Welp, it’s official: according to ESPN, the Carolina Panthers are listening to offers on Christian McCaffrey.
That’s right, after being relatively firm on the prospects of keeping McCaffrey on the roster moving forward, ESPN senior writer Adam Schefter has reported that while the Panthers aren’t going to ship McCaffrey away for free, they are willing to listen to offers and may even accept if a lucrative enough one comes along.
The keyword in that statement? Lucrative.
That’s right, with just five picks in the 2023 NFL draft and a pretty clear desire to undergo a rebuild following the mid-season collapse of the Matt Rhule regime, Carolina Panthers GM Scott Fitterer is willing to move off of his best player if it helps to recoup some of the assets surrendered to acquire players like Stephon Gilmore and Laviska Shenault. If moving off of McCaffrey can procure enough assets to facilitate a right-proper rebuild, then the Panthers would likely do it, but the asking price, per Schefter, is reportedly steep, with one premium pick or multiple selections needed to get a deal done.
Would a team be willing to trade a good second-round pick or maybe even more for a player who will have a $12 million base salary in 2025, when he’s 29? That, friends, is the four-year, $64 million question.
In the short term, McCaffrey might just be the most interesting player to hit the proverbial trade market in some time. One of just three players who amassed 1,000 yards in the run and the passing game, there isn’t a team in the NFL who wouldn’t be better with McCaffrey on their team right now. But could his asking price, when coupled with the way running backs age in the modern NFL, ultimately keep opposing teams away? Fans will know on November 2nd.