Trade terms give Christian McCaffrey real leverage over his contract

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As for new 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, there is a school of thought that over time his team will force him to take less. If that happens, he must be ready to roll back.

McCaffrey has $36.2 million in base salary and coaching bonuses owed over the next three years. So, McCaffrey has a simple answer if/when the 49ers try to get him to take less.

” Kiss my ass. Pay me.”

The 49ers gave up four draft picks to get McCaffrey. What are they going to do, cut it? And if they do, he becomes a free agent, unrestricted and unfettered.

While that doesn’t mean they’ll keep him for the full balance of his current contract, the odds of them trying to get him to take less in the 2023 offseason are slim, considering how much leverage his contract gives him.

That said, there’s nothing stopping the two sides from a restructure that lowers his cap for 2023. But he would still receive his full salary as part of a simple cap shake-up. It wouldn’t take less.

And if he ever considered taking a penny less, the misunderstanding should be an elimination of the balance of the agreement, allowing him to become a free agent as soon as possible in 2024.

Whatever both sides do next year, his future gets murkier in 2024. Much depends on what he does (and if he stays healthy) for the rest of the current season and the next. Without a guaranteed penny, the 49ers have the option to move on, if they choose. And while it’s never wise to double down on a mistake, the picks used to get him necessarily become a factor if/when they look at his salary and ability and potentially make the difficult decision to move on.

Whatever the 49ers might be considering, the fact that they gave up a second-round pick, a third-round pick, a fourth-round pick and a fifth-round pick to get McCaffrey necessarily gives him more clout than he doesn’t. would if he were just a free agent signing.

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