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John Lynch says 49ers ‘always looking to get better’ when asked about Odell Beckham Jr.; GM impressed with Trey Lance’s rehab efforts

Nov 4, 2022 at 10:38 PM--

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Earlier this week, head coach Kyle Shanahan didn't dismiss the possibility that his San Francisco 49ers might consider signing veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

"We're open to discussions with everybody," Shanahan shared. "We look into everything. You don't have to worry about the trade deadline with him because he's out there and he's available. I've always been a fan of Odell, like I feel like most people are. I mean, he's that good of a player."

Beckham is attempting to return from the ACL injury he suffered in the Super Bowl and can sign with any NFL team once healthy. The veteran receiver could look to sign with a contender soon. The 49ers believe they are contenders.

Shanahan isn't the only member of the 49ers unwilling to dismiss the possibility of adding Beckham to the mix as the team looks to make a playoff push in the second half of the season. This week, San Francisco's general manager, John Lynch, was asked about the potential addition.

"How many footballs are we going to play with?" Lynch jokingly said during an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. "I'm thinking of all the weapons we've already talked about."

One of those weapons is Christian McCaffrey, the running back acquired via a trade from the Carolina Panthers on October 20. His impact was felt this past weekend at SoFi Stadium when he scored rushing, receiving, and passing touchdowns during the 31-14 rout of the Los Angeles Rams.

The 49ers didn't add anyone else before the trade deadline. Instead, they shipped running back Jeff Wilson Jr. to the Miami Dolphins. Is a Beckham-to-49ers scenario worth considering?

"Look, we never say no," Lynch said. "We're always looking to get better. And it's a rarity when you have a player of that ilk and some other names out there that still might be available. And we always will look."

With or without Beckham, Lynch believes the 49ers have a roster capable of winning it all. He told that to The Athletic this week and reiterated it to NBC Sports Bay Area. After its bye week, the team expects to get several players back from injuries, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Elijah Mitchell.

"We like our team as it's constructed right now," Lynch said. "And we're ready to enjoy our bye week, then come back full of energy and full of expectations that start with one game, and that's the Chargers coming off the bye.

"We think we set that standard for who we can be, and now it's our job to go meet that standard each and every week."

Trey Lance attacking rehab

Lynch discussed his injured second-year quarterback, Trey Lance. Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury during Week 2. However, he is expected to be ready for next season, and the 49ers general manager has been impressed with how the 22-year-old has been attacking his rehab.

"[Lance is] a man possessed on recovery and doing everything possible [to return], and that's what Trey's doing," Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Playing would have sped up Lance's development. That was the 49ers' plan, to use this season to help the young passer progress. Lance remains a part of the team. When he isn't rehabbing, the quarterback attends meetings and continues to work toward mastering the offense.

"He's living here," Lynch said. "He's in our team meetings, which has been awesome to see. I think it lifts the guys. He's invested in his team, but he's also invested in the healing process. That was frustrating from early on because it was a non-weight-bearing thing. He was on that little scooter for a while, which guys were having fun with him about. Now, he's on crutches, partial weight-bearing."

Jimmy Garoppolo, who signed a restructured one-year deal before the start of the season, replaced Lance. After this season, Garoppolo will become a free agent, and the 49ers plan to turn back to Lance.

"He's grinding," Lynch said, "He's convicted to come back and put himself in the best position to be a guy for this team moving forward. And that's what it takes, that kind of single-mindedness, and he has it. It's one of the reasons we brought him here.

"We sure wish that never happened, but it did, and Trey's making the best of it and approaching it with a tremendous mindset."

The Christian McCaffrey effect

Against the Rams, McCaffrey showed why the 49ers offense could be a force down the stretch. He is yet another weapon on a team filled with play-makers. Now, they just have to put it all together. Once they do, opposing defenses might have to pick their poison.

"You add those guys, you put them in there with [wide receiver Brandon] Aiyuk, you put them in there with [tight end George] Kittle, Elijah Mitchell, hopefully coming back, it's just a multitude of weapons," Lynch said. "[Fullback Kyle Juszczyk]. We love that, and I think it presents issues because they're all such versatile football players. We look for versatility, and I think Christian can beat you in so many different ways, as can Deebo, as can Juice, as can Kittle.

"We're going to be tough to deal with, and like I said, it's about the consistency. It's about stopping beating ourselves because when right, we can play with and beat anyone."

Lynch added that the 49ers value their draft picks. The decision to trade them away didn't come lightly. However, McCaffrey is a special player. Lynch feels the sacrifice was worth it.

"Ultimately, you've just got to ask, we love our draft picks but we know what Christian is," Lynch said. "We know what he can do. We had a good idea of what he could do in our scheme, with our talent, with the assembly of talent around him, and I think it was a good feeling to see that come to fruition against the Rams. Now, we've just got to go make that the case every week."

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