Panthers GM: McCaffrey trade is what was best for team (0:58)

Despite trading Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, the panthers are still expecting to compete. There is a time and a place.

3:07 PM ET

Scott Fitterer insists the decision to trade running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers was not about tanking the rest of the season to get the top pick.

There are a lot of options, including trading up for the top pick next year, after Thursday's late-night deal that got Carolina (1-5) three draft picks.

The trade cleared the cap hits of the next two years, as well as the next five years.

Fitterer said that they had to figure out what was best for the organization. We are still focused on competing every weekend. We think we'll win.

Even though he was given a better chance to succeed in Sunday's game, Steve Wilks agreed.

"There is no such thing as tanking when it comes to myself or the men in that locker room," said the coach, who is 0-1 since replacing Matt Rhule.

Both agreed on the draft picks for McCaffrey, in addition to the sixth- and seventh-rounders Carolina got from the Arizona Cardinals on Monday for wide receiverRobbie Anderson.

The panthers had only four picks before this week.

Kentucky's Will Levis, Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud are some of the best quarterbacks in this year's draft.

If the season ended today, the panthers would have the top pick, according to the man. It gives a lot of shots to the players if we don't have to go up.

The Carolinas are in need of a quarterback because they haven't seen themselves as worthy of a new deal. He hasn't had a chance to prove himself because he is on injured reserve with a foot injury.

Christian McCaffrey's career numbers in five seasons with the Panthers: 7,272 scrimmage yards and 50 rushing/receiving touchdowns. Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

PJ Walker, a former XFL star, is expected to start his second game in a row on Sunday.

Fitterer said that they have a good core. One of the best players in the league is Christian. We won't hide that. This allows us to move forward.

The first offer was not enough for the team to consider. According to a league source, the Carolinas initially looked for a couple of first-round picks, then narrowed it down to one.

The team was listening to offers, which picked up on Tuesday, according to Fitterer. According to sources close to the situation, the 49ers, Rams and Bills were the most interested teams.

The negotiations were focused on a collection of picks that would equal a first-round pick when it became clear the Carolinas wouldn't get a first-round pick. The deal with San Francisco was close, according to him.

There were three hard offers and a couple of test-the-water offers where they threw their hat in the ring.

He said it would take an "astronomical" offer to pry anyone else from the roster.

He said that they liked the young core of the team. We're going to build. This is not a situation where we want to sell. This is a really good mix and we want to add players to it. We win with moving forward.

He woke up Friday to the news that he had been asleep when the trade took place.

I had my initial thoughts and was pretty disappointed. It's part of the business. The effect he had in Charlotte was incredible and he's going to do a great job there.

He didn't think the trade was a sign of management tanking.

He said that they were concerned about the next game. We want to take it one game at a time. It doesn't do us anything if we focus on other things outside of what we can do in the locker room.

We're still concerned about winning football games. Outside of the locker room, we don't worry about any of the narratives.

Even though he said it made sense for both teams, he admitted to being surprised at the trade.

"Our record is what it is, and whatever moves the front office wants to make at this point in the season, obviously they're going to make for the better of this team and this locker room," he stated. In that locker room, we have full faith in that.

Due to an early morning flight to San Francisco, McCaffrey didn't have time to address the team on Friday.

He had a chance to chat with the player who became the third player in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. He had a hard time talking about the loss.

Most of it will be between us. "For the majority of the time, I said, 'Gonna miss you'." I'm going to miss you! If you want to play football at a high level, go for it.