Christian McCaffrey gets jersey No. 23 after trade to Niners

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers runs after his catch during a 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Running back Christian McCaffrey is changing teams and his jersey number after he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.

McCaffrey is swapping out his Carolina blue jersey for a Scarlett red one with the No. 23 on the back.

The 49ers acquired the star running back from the Panthers Thursday for a haul of draft pick, sending McCaffrey back to the Bay Area where he starred in college at Stanford.

"I’m forever grateful for all of people who helped make these last 5 1/2 years so special for me," McCaffrey tweeted Friday morning. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Carolina, I will always love you."

McCaffrey joins a talented group of playmakers in San Francisco with versatile receiver Deebo Samuel, star tight end George Kittle and receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Niners General Manager John Lynch said, "It did take a lot to get him, but I think he’s worthy of that. "

But the Niners (3-3) were not as strong at running back with starter Elijah Mitchell out with a knee injury. McCaffrey provides coach Kyle Shanahan with one of the best as both a runner and receiver, adding another element to San Francisco’s offense.

McCaffrey has a $990,000 salary this year after Carolina reworked his contract, making him an easy fit under the salary cap. He is owed about $36 million over the next three years, but none of that is guaranteed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.