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5 biggest takeaways from 49ers GM John Lynch’s pre-draft presser

Rohan Chakravarthi
Apr 24, 2023 at 5:41 PM


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San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch spoke with the media on Monday during his annual pre-draft presser, answering questions with the latest around the team as the organization looks forward to a unique 2023 NFL Draft, where they're currently scheduled to begin selecting at No. 99.

However, many of the topics surrounding Lynch's presser weren't in relation to the draft, but rather the current state of the team, as the general manager hadn't spoken with the media since last month's NFL annual meetings.

What were the five biggest takeaways from Lynch's presser?

1. Trey Lance expected to be on the roster


Last week, quarterback rumors around the 49ers began swirling when NFL Network's Ian Rapoport shared that the 49ers are fielding calls on former third-overall pick Trey Lance, although nothing had come of the trade talks at the moment.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Lynch shared that he and Lance have held discussions around his situation with the team, not denying that calls have been made, but shared that he expects the 2021 draft pick to be on the roster in 2022 and compete for a job.

"His mindset is all about competing and I think that's exactly where his mindset should be. We're excited about the position he's put himself in with the work he's done this offseason to number one, get healthy, number two, improve upon some things that he really wanted to improve upon. And we don't get to watch all of his workouts. I've got a good view. He's definitely excited and I think he has reason to be, so yes, there has been good communication and we're excited about Trey's ability to go compete for a job," Lynch said.

Additionally, Lynch added that much of the trade talk has been smoke, with a couple of teams calling in, but nothing being that substantiative.

"Yeah, I think there's a lot of smoke really. It hasn't been extremely active, and it's not like we've put it out there that, 'Hey, we're taking offers for Trey, call 1-800 to,' that's not been the process. People's job in this is to ask questions. Has that happened on a couple occasions? Sure. It hasn't been that substantive and like I said, we're focused as is Trey on his ability to compete and play an integral role on this team. Last year we needed five and so we value every single one of those guys. And we're excited about our group. We really are."

It appears that the 49ers have fielded calls on Lance, but are likely holding a high asking price, understanding their current quarterback situation, which hasn't yielded much fruit yet, because teams don't reciprocate that value for the 2022 starter.

The situation has been the same all offseason since Brock Purdy's injury diagnosis was revealed: Lance will have the chance to compete for the Week 1 starter role while Purdy recovers from injury with Sam Darnold.

2. Brock Purdy recovery going as expected


The other domino of the quarterback situation is evidently Brock Purdy, who has been claimed as the favorite in the clubhouse after his 2022 performance after relieving Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13.

However, the big question mark revolves around Purdy's health and timeline, which will become more clear as the three-month post-surgery mark nears.

Thus far, Lynch shared that Purdy has been on track with his progress, and is right on schedule with hitting the necessary checkpoints.

"Just what we expected, he's attacking each day. I think he's focused on each day. Dr. Meister had said that an inflection point will be 12 weeks because that's when he's supposed to start throwing, but right now he's just really focused on maxing each day. I think with rehab, having gone through it myself, there's a physical component to it. There's also a psychological and emotional and mental component and part of that is just waking up and really being where you're at. And I think that what Brock has done a really good job of and I get a lot of people reaching out saying that the high fives at the Giants game were really encouraging, but I think what's more encouraging is what I'm hearing every day from our people, from Brock. He's making great progress. As I have it, we're six weeks out, just finished that six weeks and really doing a good job with it," Lynch said. "He's doing really well. And as I understand it, he's definitely on schedule hitting all the checkpoints and we're very encouraged by his rehab."

If Purdy does recover in time for the 49ers, that's their best-case scenario, as a quarterback competition can entail with each of their most-experienced players in the locker room.

Purdy's timeline is important because his availability in team drills on the practice field could indicate when his return to live action will occur.

But, his being on the right track with his progress is a good sign for the 49ers, who are entering a crucial season in the Kyle Shanahan era.

3. Brandon Aiyuk a 49er in 2024?


John Lynch all but confirmed that Brandon Aiyuk would be a 49er in 2023, sharing the excitement that the team has in his abilities for the upcoming season, but displayed some warranted hesitancy when talking about the long-term future of the team, understanding that financial implications could be at play when the organization discusses an extension for the top wideout next offseason.

"We love Brandon Aiyuk and I'm excited about Brandon being a part of this team," Lynch said. "You can't keep everyone, we're trying to do something special this year and Brandon is going to be a big part of that and beyond as well. And so yes, you always have to think out a few years, but we're really excited about Brandon. I feel like he made another big step last year, and I think the best is yet to come and so we want him being a part of it and at some point, yeah, you have to figure things out and I guess we'll take that as it comes, but as of right now and into the future, we're really excited about Brandon Aiyuk and where he is at as a pro. The work he's done to develop as a pro and become one of our core players here."

The 49ers do have a tough situation on their hands because they first need to figure out an extension for star edge rusher Nick Bosa before delving into the financial implications next offseason of extending Brandon Aiyuk.

Is it possible? Absolutely.

But, it seems unlikely that both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel remain 49ers for the long-run, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

A potential solution would be to extend Aiyuk next offseason, which would lower his 2024 cap hit, currently standing to be around $14 million in the likelihood that his fifth-year option is picked up.

That cheaper cap hit would make it easier to absorb Deebo Samuel's $28.5 million cap hit in 2024, but when Aiyuk's cap hit rises in 2025, then the 49ers would probably have to move off the former, which becomes easier as he enters the final year of his extension, due to the dead cap allotted to his contract.

Regardless, it appears the 49ers have a decision to make between Aiyuk and Samuel in 2024 for their long-term future, but, that decision can wait for another offseason.

4. Jon Feliciano role


In the midst of a busy free agency headlined by star defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and quarterback Sam Darnold, the 49ers reached an agreement with veteran center/guard Jon Feliciano on a one-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth $2.25 million.

However, at the time, it was uncertain what role Feliciano would play, understanding the 49ers had returning starters in Jake Brendel and Spencer Burford at center and right guard, respectively, although it appeared he would fill the role of versatile veteran Daniel Brunskill, who departed for the Tennessee Titans in free agency.

John Lynch added some clarity to Feliciano's role, pointing to the rotation between Burford and Brunskill at right guard a year ago, but also adding the progress from the fourth-round rookie over his first season.

"I think [his role] is open to him. We rotated [OL] Spencer [Burford] and [OL Daniel] Brunskill last year. Jon is a guy who has started a lot of games here in the last few years. I think he gives us tremendous versatility at guard and center. Around the league, it's kind of known he's one of those glue guys, one of those guys you want in your room. He became a priority for us in free agency. I felt very fortunate that we were able to come out of free agency with Jon a part of our team, especially once we lost Danny. Those guys are incredibly valuable. Now, having said that, I thought Spencer acquitted himself really well. He's a really talented young man, and I think it's only going to get better. And it's always great to have competition and know you have someone there that if something were to happen at either spot, all three really, you've got a guy who's tested, who's battle-tested, who has done it. Jon was really a nice addition for us and it is really cool to have added him to our group," Lynch said.

Feliciano's cap hit suggests he's a near-lock for the 53-man roster in August, but it may not necessarily be in place of a starter, although the competition should be beneficial to Spencer Burford.

Instead, he likely slots into the role of Daniel Brunskill, adding veteran depth to a young core of interior offensive linemen.

5. No to Lamar Jackson


The 49ers have been in nearly every quarterback rumor thus far, be it Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, or... Lamar Jackson.

However, general manager John Lynch shut down the rumor of adding Lamar Jackson, pointing out the current roster and the fit of the current quarterbacks.

"You look into everything, and we seem to be linked to everything. I can tell you, I think it's how convicted we are on Brock, on this current group of guys. You're not doing your job if you don't look into things. A lot of those things I think you're limited by the way our roster is set up and the other thing is, what's your motivation? And there's more than just Lamar, there's tremendous players, MVP-type players. We really like our guys and we like where we're at. We like our complete roster and how they fit for multiple reasons and we're excited about that group. So, I'll just leave it at that," Lynch said.

The more important reason is the financial issues, especially if Jackson is granted a fully-guaranteed contract, as the 49ers are already in question regarding their long-term salary cap, which is why they're facing tough decisions, such as extending Brandon Aiyuk or moving on from a core skill position piece.

Adding Jackson to the mix at a significant financial cost is unfeasible in the long-term, even though his addition would propel the 49ers even further into championship contention.

Involve the fact that the Ravens seem poised to match most non-guaranteed deals, and it doesn't seem like the best business move for the 49ers.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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1 Comment

  • Ed Benton
    And “no one ask’s who’s going to be at RT??? Who’s competing for the job??? If McKivitz mover right, who then is swing tackle on left side??? Were there any reporters there who know about football and the Niners???
    Apr 24, 2023 at 7:25 PM
    0

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