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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

John Lynch explains 49ers’ offseason improvement strategy

Jun 10, 2024 at 2:03 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers are excited about their offseason improvements, believing they've done enough to remain competitive and make another Super Bowl run. Of course, every NFL team is optimistic about its chances in June. They still have to go out and perform for 17 games, hoping they're competitive enough to earn a playoff spot.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan would prefer the NFL Draft take place before free agency, allowing the team to add rookie contributors first and then spend money to fill remaining needs. Unfortunately, free agency comes first, necessitating teams to consider the depth of specific positions in the draft while not knowing who they might acquire and trying to fill any potential gaps ahead of time.

The 49ers had to regroup after reaching the Super Bowl last season but falling just short of their ultimate goal.

"The thing we knew, we needed to rework our defensive line, and we wanted to have some stability," Lynch shared during the 49ers' "State of the Franchise" event.

In recent years, the 49ers have invested heavily in their defensive line, adding Javon Hargrave via free agency last offseason before signing Nick Bosa to a contract extension. The investment continued this offseason, with the team signing Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos, and trading for Maliek Collins.

Lynch acknowledged that the team deviated from its usual strategy of signing players to one-year deals. Floyd and Gross-Matos received two-year contracts.

"But this year, we wanted some stability," Lynch explained. "So you go find a Leonard Floyd, an established vet, a presence on the opposite side of Bosa, a Yetur Gross-Matos, who was really a guy out there that we really got a consensus and felt great about him, and being able to add a guy like that for two years. And on the inside, a Jordan Elliott and a Maliek Collins via trade. We reworked our defensive line.

"And you're always looking at the draft, and the draft, where we were picking, and then just the quality of the class, the D-line wasn't great. So I think we started there in free agency, added some other things. And [CB] Isaac Yiadom, probably an underrated [player], we really think he's gonna be a good player for us, adding depth at a real important position."

San Francisco owned the No. 31 overall pick in the draft, which meant waiting to see how most of the first round unfolded before finalizing their own plan. Lynch and Shanahan drafted eight players, including wide receiver Ricky Pearsall in the first round.

"We're thrilled with the guys we've added," Lynch shared. "I won't get into each draft pick. What I'll say is, collectively, we've really enjoyed working with these young men. They're workers. We love the talent, we love the fit, and we're excited about our group moving forward."

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