49ers’ Kyle Shanahan hopes to reduce Christian McCaffrey’s workload next season


Three-time Pro Bowler Christian McCaffrey is the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year. The San Francisco 49ers have relied on the star running back since the team acquired him in a trade in 2022.

His 339 touches led the NFL last season, but McCaffrey is no stranger to handling the physical toll that comes with being a high-usage player. He has averaged at least 19.4 touches per game over the past six seasons. 

But the Madden 2024 cover athlete could see a lighter workload in 2024.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Christian McCaffrey Kyle Shanahan

Head coach Kyle Shanahan, right, of the San Francisco 49ers, interacts with Christian McCaffrey prior to the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

McCaffrey celebrated his 28th birthday last month. During that same month, the Niners rewarded him with a contract extension that would keep him with the franchise through the 2027 season.

Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers’ head coach, acknowledged McCaffrey’s importance to the team and noted that protecting the league’s highest-paid running back next season will be a priority.

49ERS STAR GEORGE KITTLE REVEALS MAJOR WEIGHT LOSS FOLLOWING OFFSEASON SURGERY: ‘IT WAS TOUGH’

“We have guys that can run the ball,” Shanahan said. “We have to protect Christian from himself. He doesn’t like to ever come out, no matter what the situation is. And I do think that’s something we could protect him with more.”

Christian McCaffrey 1

Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers runs for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs during the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

McCaffrey was on the field for 81% of the 49ers’ snaps last season. Shanahan and the coaching staff elected to have him sit out the 2023 regular-season finale because the team had already clinched the NFC’s top playoff seed.

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs during the Super Bowl at Allegiant Stadium Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

McCaffrey’s versatility has been a key part of his success throughout his NFL career. He finished the 2019 season with the Carolina Panthers with a career-high 1,005 receiving yards. He had a career-best seven touchdown receptions in 2023.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“When you are such a threat in the pass game, it’s a little bit different,” Shanahan added. “But if he’s just taking the wear and tear with 20 carries and stuff every game — and he’s definitely good enough to do that, and he has proved he can stay healthy — but you’d like to take some of that off of him and give it to other guys also.”

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.





Source link