John Lynch met with the local media before the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday in Las Vegas. During the nearly 30-minute session, Lynch was asked about several key topics. .
Here are my key takeaways.
Deebo Samuel will be a 49er in 2022.
The 49ers have a very public contract negotiation taking place with Deebo Samuel.
When asked if he was open to giving in to the wide receivers’ trade demand, Lynch did not sound as though he was ready to make such a move.
“I can’t ever imagine wanting to move on from Deebo,” responded Lynch.
“He’s just too good of a player. I mean, you think of 2019, the 36th pick to come up with someone like Deebo, who you know to me has just been a game-changing player for our franchise. He’s the perfect illustration of when will meets skill.”
“I think by virtue of the way he plays, it’s inspiring, and to me, that entails leadership, you know, do you make people around you better. He checks that box, and he’s a great teammate.”
Later in the session, Lynch may have given another indication regarding the team’s direction with Samuel.
When asked about if there have been internal discussions about providing the maximum support to Trey Lance as he transitions to the starting quarterback role, Lynch mentioned Deebo Samuel.
“We’re always conscious of that, and we think we’ve got a good roster,” said Lynch. We’ve got George Kittle to be there for Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, all these guys.”
Alex Mack will retire.
Speaking with reporters at the NFL annual meeting last month, General Manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were optimistic Mack would come back for a 14th NFL season. However, both stopped short of giving a definitive answer on the center’s future.
Asked for an update on Mack’s status, the 49ers general manager struck a different tone.
“We’ve been in discussion with Alex, communicating with him,” said Lynch. “I’m not going to speak for Alex on that, and I think at the appropriate time, Alex will comment on that.”
Could a rookie center come in, pick up the offense and be a 17-game starter?
According to Lynch, “It’s a tough position to come in and play right away.”
“One thing about our system, I don’t think there’s as much on the center in terms of making every protection call and things of that nature as many systems. We probably afforded Alex that opportunity because he was so capable, but that doesn’t have to be the case. And so there are things we can do.”
Lynch feels the 49ers roster has become better.
Lynch was asked about the common critique of the team not accomplishing their main offseason objectives. These include that Deebo Samuel hasn’t signed a new contract, Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the roster, and the offseason has been subpar.
The 49ers general manager doesn’t buy that narrative.
The team went into the offseason looking to improve on special teams but didn’t want to sign players who were limited only to that role.
Players such as Oren Burks, George Odom, and Ray-Ray McCloud add value to the 49ers special team units while also providing valuable depth at linebacker, safety, and wide receiver.
Lynch of Jimmy Garoppolo
“Jimmy is working hard in the rehab process. He did a surgery down in Los Angeles and is doing the rehab down there. We’ve been in contact with him, and I think the progress is good. So, he’s tracking kind of right where we said, you know, throwing towards the end of June and then wrapping it up from there.”
I believe Garoppolo will not be with the team in 2022, and there’s a strong possibility he will be traded. Should the Panthers not use their first-round pick on a quarterback, keep an eye on Carolina as a landing spot.
– Darqueze Dennard has been getting work at nickel corner with the first unit. It’s extremely early, OTA’s have just begun, but it’s a little tidbit on how things stand.
– According to Fred Warner, Javon Kinlaw looks to be in the best shape he’s been in. The 14th player selected in 2020, Kinlaw has dealt with knee injuries throughout his first two seasons with San Francisco. The 49ers are looking for Kinlaw to fill the void left by the departure of D.J. Jones to Denver during free agency.