The now-infamous C- trade grade given to the 49ers for the 2022 Christian McCaffrey trade has now become an enduring meme with fans.
Sometimes, a hot take just ages horribly for someone. It happens, and not every opinion someone has is going to be spot on, and it's usually unfair to apply hindsight in these situations.
But that's not going to be much comfort for ESPN reporter Seth Walder and his now-infamous Christian McCaffrey trade grade where he gave the 49ers a mere C-minus for giving up a second-, third- and fourth-round NFL Draft selection in 2023 and a fifth-round round selection in 2024 to bring over the talented running back to the Bay Area.
Read More: Christian McCaffrey absolutely unstoppable with 3 touchdowns in 1st half vs. Cardinals
Walder was scathing of the 49ers giving up even more draft capital in 2023 (the Niners didn't have a first-round pick in 2023 due to the Trey Lance trade), for what he considered to be a luxury trade.
"There's some irony in Kyle Shanahan's running back shopping addiction when his offense is a perfect example of the limits of the position's impact. From Matt Breida to Raheem Mostert to Elijah Mitchell to Jeff Wilson Jr., unheralded backs have run efficiently in the 49ers' offense. Of course, McCaffrey is a completely different player and a wildly different skill level than a Trey Sermon or Jerick McKinnon. But the point is that running back is a non-premium position for a reason."- Seth Walder, ESPN
Fast-forward to almost a year later, and it seems very clear that every 49ers fan as well as anyone that watches football would give the trade a drastically different grade. McCaffrey has been nothing short of an A-plus player for San Francisco, taking less than a year to break the legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice's record of consecutive games with a touchdown with 13 straight games with a score.
McCaffrey has been more than just a running back, but a reliable receiving option that's been important for the development of budding franchise quarterback Brock Purdy and a locker room leader who leads by example in training camp, too.
McCaffrey has been even better than his 2022 self with a full preseason, and he could be a rare non-quarterback contender for the MVP. He had 20 carries for 106 yards and three touchdowns on the ground against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4 and seven receptions for 71 yards and a fourth touchdown as well in a 35-16 victory that has the 49ers at 4-0 to start the season.
Four weeks into the 2023 season, McCaffrey has 80 carries for 459 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, and 18 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown receiving. He's been unstoppable so far.
And for those wondering, Walder gave the Carolina Panthers an A- for that trade.
I wonder how he would be regrading that 12 months later.