49ers RB coach Turner notes CMC’s OTA absence is ‘business part’

49ers RB coach Turner notes CMC’s OTA absence is ‘business part’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — Christian McCaffrey, a constant fixture during the 49ers‘ offseason program, was notably absent from the 49ers’ Tuesday on-field OTA practice.

But running backs coach Bobby Turner isn’t worried about the 2023 NFL Offensive Player of the Year’s whereabouts, though, reading between the lines, might suggest that there is more to the story.

“Physically,” Turner told NBC Sports Bay Area. “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, giving him the highest annual salary for an NFL running back. The All-Pro’s $11.8 million salary in 2024 still is one of the highest in the league at his position, but in comparison to his offensive counterparts, the Stanford product might find it, well … offensive.

Deebo Samuel is set to earn nearly $21 million in 2024 while Brandon Aiyuk will make $14.1 million. For the contributions that McCaffrey makes to the offense, it’s understandable that the ball carrier would want more stability and a bigger paycheck.

Yet, the NFL’s running back market still is soft. McCaffrey’s contract is four years old and he remains at the top of the position group’s salaries with an average of $16 million per year. New Orleans Saints Alvin Kamara isn’t far behind, averaging $15 million per year, while Indianapolis Colts Jonathan Taylor is ranked No. 3 averaging $14 million per year.

But with quarterback Brock Purdy set for a huge payday in 2025, and a contract extension yet to be worked out with Aiyuk, is a new McCaffrey deal even a possibility for the 49ers? Time will tell but San Francisco will do what they can to make their most productive offensive player happy.

For now, Turner is focused on how his group can improve over their Super Bowl run in 2023. Outwardly, McCaffrey might not have any specific traits he needs to work on but with Turner at the helm, there are always areas to improve.

“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.”

McCaffrey’s absence also could be partially due to impending nuptials with fiancée Olivia Culpo this summer. The venerable coach plans to attend the lavish ceremony noting that a new suit will be in order for the event.

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