Christian McCaffrey of San Francisco 49ers looking on.Christian McCaffrey (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers superstar Christian McCaffrey may be the best running back in the game right now, but Kyle Shanahan and company should still consider load management for “Run CMC” going forward.

Christian McCaffrey won the rushing title last season with 1,459 yards. He had 14 rushing touchdowns to go along with 67 receptions for 564 yards and seven receiving scores, leading the NFL with 2,023 yards of offense and 21 total TDS.

But as everyone knows, elite running backs begin to decline before their 30th birthdays. Run CMC is about to enter his age-28 season, so the 49ers may want to bring in more help at RB to keep him fresh.

Matthew Davis of made the case for the 49ers to add some depth behind Christian McCaffrey by signing former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook, who remains a free agent as training camp draws closer:

“San Francisco could utilize Cook to do a number of the things McCaffrey does as added depth to the backfield…Neither 49ers backup running back Elijah Mitchell nor Jordan Mason have produced Cook-like numbers in their careers. Mitchell hit 963 yards rushing in 2021, and Mason’s career high is 258 yards in 2022.”

Cook was released by the Vikings in a cap-saving move last year despite tallying four straight 1,000-yard seasons. He wound up signing with the New York Jets, but was let go late in the season after seeing just 67 carries for 214 yards and no touchdowns.

The Baltimore Ravens added the four-time Pro Bowler to their roster later in the season. He rushed for 23 yards on eight carries in the Ravens’ Divisional Round victory over the Houston Texans.

Dalvin Cook Would Bolster RB Depth Behind Christian McCaffrey

It’s unlikely that Cook will ever get the chance to be a team’s No. 1 RB again. However, the former Vikings star could still provide valuable depth in San Francisco’s RB room.

San Franciso’s other RBs are Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason and rookie Isaac Guerendo, a fourth-round pick out of Louisville. Cook wouldn’t cost much to sign at this point. And he could very well bounce back in a Shanahan offense that has never been short on quality running backs.