Montana weighs in on 49ers' ‘great' McCaffrey addition


Plenty of opinions on the 49ers’ trade for star running back Christian McCaffrey have swirled since the deal went down on Thursday, and now Joe Montana has lent his voice to the fray.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and San Francisco legend was at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday for the team’s alumni weekend ahead of their Week 7 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

And when asked by NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco if he had any thoughts on the bevy of draft picks the 49ers gave up to acquire McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers, Montana made a fair point.

“Well, from my understanding, a couple of [the 49ers’] coaches left and they got a couple of extra picks, so it wasn’t as detrimental as it sounded in the paper,” Montana said. “But that’s just what rumor I heard.

"I don’t keep up enough to know that, but I think that’s kind of what they were figuring out is that, hey, we’ve got some extra picks from coaches, so this makes sense to bring in -- I can’t say dual-threat, but pretty much a threat running the ball, catching the ball, probably a great addition for them.”

San Francisco’s blockbuster trade for McCaffrey cost a treasure chest of picks -- their second-, third- and fourth-round picks in 2023, plus a fifth-round pick in 2024.

But as Montana noted, the 49ers have two compensatory picks in 2023 that they received when former coordinators Robert Saleh and Mike McDaniel left the Bay for head coaching positions. Though those picks won’t come until the third round, they likely gave the 49ers the cushion they needed to make a move for McCaffrey.

There could be more compensatory picks on the way for the 49ers, too, though the NFL will wait until the spring to announce them.

As far as how Montana thinks McCaffrey will fit into coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, he didn’t have much to base his opinion on before the new 49er’s Sunday debut.

“How fast he gets indoctrinated into this offense, I don’t know how much he’ll see today,” Montana said. “I’m sure he’ll see something. They probably have some packages for him, so it will be fun to watch him.”

Still, Montana knows a weapon like McCaffrey can thrive in a West Coast offense. He told Maiocco "a big part of that" is McCaffrey's ability to do more than just run the ball. 

"I think a lot of times, in that style of offense, you use your passing game as part of the running game," Montana said.

McCaffrey was more involved than some might have expected -- Montana included -- during the first half of the 49ers-Chiefs game. He entered in the first quarter on the team’s third offensive play, grabbing a first down on a 10-yard run in his first carry as a 49er.

Through two quarters of play, McCaffrey has tallied 39 yards rushing on six attempts for a 6.5-yard average. He also has one reception for 13 yards. 

RELATED: How McCaffrey addition impacts 49ers' Super Bowl odds

As the running back becomes more familiar with how the 49ers run an offense, it should only be a matter of time before the All-Pro lives up to Montana’s assessment of being a great addition for San Francisco.

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