Former Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is off the Atlanta Falcons schedule and out of the NFC South. The Panthers and San Francisco 49ers completed a blockbuster trade for the multi-talented running back late Thursday night.
The Panthers add a significant dead-cap number next year of $18.4 million after moving McCaffrey, but they got a good haul of picks in return from the 49ers.
The Panthers pick up the 49ers’ second, third, and fourth-round picks this year and a fifth in 2024 according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Carolina has been in full-rebuild mode after firing head coach Matt Rhule and have added a load of draft picks over the next several years.
The Falcons have yet to face the Panthers in 2022 and get their NFC South rivals twice this season. Atlanta will see the depleted Panthers for the first time Sunday, October 30th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and they will have the return trip to Charlotte on just two weeks later on November 10th.
McCaffrey’s Panthers are 1-5 against the Falcons in games he’s played, and he has rushed for 341 yards and a touchdown in those six games.
Atlanta hasn’t been favored in any of the six games they’ve played, and they’re a 6.5-point underdog against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Yet Atlanta has become an legitimate playoff contender behind an efficient offense and opportunistic defense. The Falcons will likely be favored in their two games against the Panthers, only helping their chances of making a surprising playoff run in 2022.