Running back Christian McCaffrey, the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year, has again set a new benchmark for running back contracts, signing a two-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers. The team announced the deal on Tuesday, with the extension averaging $19 million per year.

The new contract includes an additional $8 million for McCaffrey in 2024 and 2025 and $24 million in guaranteed money. This extension follows McCaffrey’s record-setting contract with the Carolina Panthers in 2020, which previously redefined running back compensation.

McCaffrey’s achievements with the 49ers have been significant. He became the fifth franchise player to win the Offensive Player of the Year award, joining legendary names like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana. Reflecting on his career and the new deal, McCaffrey emphasized the importance of valuing running backs.

“I think running backs have been undervalued for a long time now, and hopefully this is a step in the right direction,” McCaffrey said to ESPN.

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After missing the voluntary portion of the offseason program, McCaffrey returned to the 49ers on Tuesday. Coach Kyle Shanahan noted that discussions about extending McCaffrey’s contract had been ongoing to reward his impact since joining the team at the trade deadline 2022.

The extension secures McCaffrey with the 49ers through the 2027 season. Before this deal, he had two years left on his previous contract with no remaining guaranteed salary. The new terms guarantee those salaries and add $8 million more.

“Business is business, it’s part of this game,” McCaffrey said. “Both sides were mutually very respectful the whole time and just proud and happy that we got something done.”

McCaffrey quickly became a central figure in the 49ers’ offense after being traded from the Panthers in October 2022. San Francisco acquired him in exchange for 2023 second-round, third-round, and fourth-round picks and a 2024 fifth-round selection. His dedication and performance impressed teammates and coaches alike.

In the 2023 season, McCaffrey amassed 2,023 yards from scrimmage and scored 21 total touchdowns. The 49ers are confident he can maintain this level of play into his 30s.

While McCaffrey was present in Santa Clara on Tuesday, he did not participate in practice but completed a workout on the side. Shanahan indicated McCaffrey might not practice on Wednesday either.

Amidst McCaffrey’s extension, the 49ers’ minicamp saw over 20 players not participating for various reasons. Notably absent were receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams. Aiyuk, aiming for a contract extension, risks fines if he doesn’t report. Shanahan noted that each player’s approach to these situations differs but remains confident.

“Some guys come because they want to avoid a fine, and some don’t, but regardless, it doesn’t change anything when those guys come,” Shanahan said.

Teammate Deebo Samuel advised Aiyuk to be patient, emphasizing that negotiations often take longer than desired but are ultimately a waiting game.

 

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