49ers to avoid overloading McCaffrey this season

Report: 49ers to avoid overloading McCaffrey this season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 49ers will make it a priority to have Christian McCaffrey available for all 17 games throughout the 2023 NFL season.

After a midseason trade to the 49ers from the Carolina Panthers prior to San Francisco’s Week 7 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs last year McCaffrey made an immediate impact with his new team and helped the 49ers rattle off 12 consecutive wins before their season ended in the NFC Championship Game.

Heading into his first full season with his new team, the 49ers, as ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported in his latest column, will continue to reduce the number of snaps McCaffrey plays from his previous usage with the Panthers.

“San Francisco will still take McCaffrey off the field more than Carolina did and use Elijah Mitchell and/or Tyrion Davis-Price in spots, because the Niners know McCaffrey’s injury history and want to avoid overloading him. But the efficiency he should be able to attain in a full season in Kyle Shanahan’s system could be enough to propel McCaffrey to new career-best numbers.”

In 17 games between the 49ers and Panthers last season, McCaffrey logged 244 carries for 1,139 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground with 85 receptions for 741 receiving yards and five touchdowns through the air.

As Graziano mentions, McCaffrey’s lightened workload would mean more opportunities for backup running backs Mitchell, Davis-Price and Jordan Mason.

McCaffrey logged 287 snaps in six games with the Panthers compared to 490 snaps in 11 games with the 49ers. His 17-game pace with Carolina was roughly 813 snaps on the season compared to 757 with San Francisco.

Despite the drop in snaps, McCaffrey still should be able to maintain his success from last season and once again compete for another season with 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving, which he accomplished in 2019 and came 259 receiving yards short of in 2022.

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