The Carolina Panthers are going to explore trade possibilities for two-time All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey this offseason. If the 25-year-old is healthy, he should have plenty of suitors. Before his last two injury-plagued seasons, McCaffrey rushed for 2,485 yards on on 506 carries (4.91 yards per carry) in 2018-19 combined. In that time he added 223 receptions for 1,872 yards. Given his age, there's no reason he can't recapture that status.
A healthy McCaffrey is a dynamic presence who could elevate any offense. He has three years left on his current deal for around $49 million and his deal has already been restructured and could be again. Here's a look at four teams who could trade for McCaffrey this offseason.
The Bills actually averaged 129.9 rushing yards per game in 2021 but a ton of that yardage came from quarterback Josh Allen (763 yards). Devin Singletary led the team with 870 rushing yards, but they don't have a true No. 1 threat in the backfield. If McCaffrey can stay healthy, he's a dynamic presence who can be dynamic and take pressure off his quarterback.
Buffalo could use another offensive weapon to push them over the top. McCaffrey fits the bill (get it?) if he can stay on the field. A deal with a restructured contract makes a ton of sense here.
The Dolphins had the third-worst rushing offense in the NFL in 2021, averaging a paltry 92.2 yards per game. Myles Gaskin led the team with 612 rushing yards on the season. That's got to change.
New head coach Mike McDaniel (who we love) comes from Kyle Shanahan's system that relies heavily on versatile running backs (Deebo Samuel, anyone?). Who in the NFL is more versatile than McCaffrey? This fit makes a lot of sense. McCaffrey would take a ton of pressure off of Tua Tagovailoa and make the transition to McDaniel's system that much easier.
The Ravens had the NFL's third-best rushing offense in 2021 averaging 145.8 yards per game. But, like the Bills, far too many of those yards came from their quarterback. Lamar Jackson led the team with 767 yards. J.K. Dobbins missed the year due to an ACL tear and no one knows how he'll come back. McCaffrey could take the team's offense to the next level with his versatility.
Devonta Freeman led Ravens running backs with 34 receptions in 2021. McCaffrey could triple that total lining up in the slot, giving Jackson an extra target in the passing game and he could be used a decoy for Dobbins as well. There are so many ways Baltimore offensive coordinator Greg Roman could use him.
Kansas City Chiefs
This would almost be unfair, but it's possible. The Chiefs had a middling rushing attack in 2021, averaging 115.0 yards per game. They entered the 2022 offseason needing to create cap space, but NFL teams don't usually have trouble doing that. If McCaffrey is available, Kansas City should take a swing.
Darrel Williams led the Chiefs in rushing during the 2021 season with 558 yards, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire has dealt with injuries and inconsistency. A versatile presence like McCaffrey would be dynamic in that offense. Patrick Mahomes would have yet another weapon to use to help put the Chiefs over the top.