Christian McCaffrey

CMC reports to 49ers' mandatory minicamp after skipping OTAs

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The 49ers Faithful can take a deep sigh of relief.

After skipping organized team activities -- which are optional -- 49ers All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey returned to the team's facility Tuesday for the start of mandatory minicamp.

Tuesday was not the first time McCaffrey has been at the 49ers' facility since the team's locker room clean out day in February, but it will be the first time he steps on the field this offseason.

McCaffrey's notable absence from OTAs raised a few eyebrows last month, and comments made by 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner thereafter didn't necessarily ease those concerns.

While Turner said he wasn't worried about McCaffrey's nonappearance, he implied there could be more to the story regarding the running back's whereabouts.

“Physically,” Turner told NBC Sports Bay Area in May. “Physically he’s not here, but he’s here in every other aspect. That’s the business part, and I’m not getting into that.”

McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension with the Carolina Panthers in 2020 -- the highest annual salary for an NFL running back. His $11.8 million salary in 2024 still is one of the highest in the league at his position, but there's a significant difference compared to other playmakers in San Francisco's locker room.

Deebo Samuel is set to earn nearly $21 million in 2024. Brandon Aiyuk will make $14.1 million. Quarterback Brock Purdy is primed for a major payday in 2025.

McCaffrey took Shanahan's offense to new heights after his trade to the Red and Gold midway through the 2022 season. His efforts earned him the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award in 2023 after finishing the season with 21 total touchdowns and leading the league in scrimmage yards (2,023) while helping the 49ers to a 12-5 record, the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a Super Bowl LVIII appearance.

The 27-year-old led the NFL with 1,459 yards rushing and 14 rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per attempt last season. He added 67 receptions for 564 yards and seven touchdowns through the air.

While the numbers and "business" side of things will sort themselves out when the time comes, for now, it appears Turner, McCaffrey and the 49ers are ready to shift their focus to playing football.

“Christian wants to get better every day and my job is to make sure that he doesn’t want to be in the comfort zone or at a low performance level,” Turner said. “His standards are very high and every day we are looking for him to improve.” 

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