John Lynch put on a brave face on Monday morning in his yearly pre-draft press conference. He dove deep into his bag of obfuscation tricks and said a whole heck of a lot without saying much at all about Deebo Samuel’s contract situation.
49ers don’t plan to let Deebo Samuel ‘walk’
While Samuel has been openly and confoundingly asking for a trade for reasons he has yet to make clear, Lynch declined to get into specifics about the negotiations.
The most specific Lynch got was in saying that the 49ers don’t plan on letting Samuel walk and although they listen to offers for just about everyone, their intentions are to keep him.
“You don’t let guys like that walk,” Lynch said. “I can’t envision a scenario where we would… He’s just too good of a player.”
He said the 49ers go have gone through the process of preparing “for everything,” including a potential trade, but that is not the team’s preference.
Lynch did intimate, if only slightly, that the 49ers might be a bit perplexed to Samuel’s approach, like the rest of us.
“I’m confident we can we can find the solutions to work through whatever’s going on,” Lynch said.
You would hope the 49ers would know what’s going on at this point. But reports suggest Samuel — who has discernibly had an excellent relationship with head coach Kyle Shanahan — has told the team not to make him an offer.
Is it about money, the way he’s used, being closer to home? No one is saying much of anything right now, but Samuel’s displeasure, made obvious via social media and his announcement of a trade request via ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, is evident, even if it is bewildering.
The quarterback situation
Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the roster and the 49ers are still doing the thing where they tell everyone “watch out, we’ll keep him” while the rest of the league discernibly shrugs and nods.
Lynch, once again brought up as a point of pride, that San Francisco is willing — in theory — to pay Jimmy Garoppolo his $26.95 million salary to sit on the bench.
His argument is that you don’t simply get rid of good players, even if it means grossly overpaying a backup and not spending money in more prudent areas. But this is still four months out from training camp and Garoppolo may still be moved before the season begins.
“Guys like that don’t fall out of trees,” Lynch said. “He’s a good player at a at a position where you know that they’re hard to find and so you certainly don’t just give guys like that away and we can, I guess foot the bill if you want to describe it as that and so you know, we’ll be patient with that.”
Lynch said Garoppolo is currently rehabbing and is anticipated to begin throwing some time in late June.
As for the other guy, Trey Lance, Lynch all but proclaimed him the starter.
“We are great believers in what Trey Lance brings to the table,” Lynch said. “We believe he’s ready. He’s gonna have to show that. I think he’s ready to show that to us, show that to his teammates and show that to the world. So we’re excited for that opportunity that he has.”
The 49ers continue to be clear in the fact that they expect Lance to come in as the starter and intend to move on from Garoppolo, but with months before training camp, there is no impetus for them to make a move to get rid of the the veteran, especially if something were to happen to Lance during that time.
Alex Mack return sounds unlikely
The tenor over the potential retirement of the 36-year-old Alex Mack is decidedly dour. Reading between the lines, it sounds an awful lot like the Joe Staley situation. But it feels even less covert than Staley’s situation.
Lynch continued to intimate that the 49ers aren’t optimistic about Mack returning.
“We’ve been in discussions with Alex,” Lynch said. “I’m not going to speak for Alex on that… I think at the appropriate time, Alex will comment on that.”
He also tried to explain how San Francisco’s system could be inviting to a rookie center.
“It’s a tough position to come in and play right away,” Lynch said. “You’d be going from one extreme, one of the brighter players in terms of football and communication in Alex Mack and experience… but sure, that happens a lot. And 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 a lot of systems.”
If Mack doesn’t return, it will be another stinging reminder of the 49ers astounding error in judgment last draft, when they opted to select Aaron Banks over the likes of Chiefs center Creed Humphrey from Oklahoma.
Humphrey was arguably the league’s best center in his first year and could have spent a year at guard before taking over in earnest at center. Instead, the 49ers have Banks, who couldn’t beat out Daniel Brunskill at guard last season and doesn’t have the ability to play center.
Other notes: McGlinchey’s rehab, Mitchell’s surgery
For a 6-foot-8-inch tall man coming off a potentially career-threatening surgery, Mike McGlinchey expressed a fair bit of optimism on Monday.
McGlinchey tore his quad last season and in his first post-surgery presser appearance, he said he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery.
The thought of it being a career-ending injury never occurred to him, he said, and positioned the surgery as something that was a long time coming, and might actually preserve his career.
“[My career ending] was just never an option. I wasn’t going to let that happen,” McGlinchey said. “This staff wasn’t gonna let that happen. And if anything, you know, it was a problem that I dealt with for a while. It wasn’t just last season that this quad — it was years and years of playing football where I’m a tall, long guy and I bend a lot for my job and it takes a lot on your knees. And so, if anything, it’s going to help me on the back end of my career that I got a completely new quad tendon.”
McGlinchey said he was cleared to play a few months ago and is now in the process of adding stability and strength over the next four months. He expects to be ready for training camp and said his conditioning is “well ahead of where it needed to be” at this juncture.
Meanwhile Elijah Mitchell, who was riddled with injuries last season, but played through that litany, said he underwent a “cleanup” in his knee this offseason.
He didn’t get into specifics, but deemed it a minor surgery. Typically those cleanups are arthroscopic surgeries that either remove loose bodies in the knee or trim or remove parts of torn ligaments.
Mitchell also said he expects to be good to go for training camp, and said he hopes to add mass and get up to a playing weight of about 215 pounds for the season to better deal with NFL contact.