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John Lynch discusses 49ers roster control and figuring ‘tiebreakers’ with Kyle Shanahan

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We still don’t have complete clarity on who has final say in an impasse, but there is some sort of procedure.

When San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York first met the media after firing Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke, he talked repeatedly about the need for his next GM and head coach to have a partnership. Under Baalke, personnel at times seemed to operate entirely independent of the coaching staff, creating a void in figuring out the roster.

The team went about a hiring process that saw them interviewing both coaches and GMs, rather than figuring out one then the other. They eventually decided on Kyle Shanahan, and wanted to have him meet with general manager candidates to see who might work best with him. Amidst all this, John Lynch emerged, having spoken with Shanahan, and eventually interviewing for the job.

The question of roster control has been a regular one since the two names came together. There have been multiple reports that Shanahan would have control of the 53-man roster, and Lynch would have control of the 90-man roster in terms of the draft, trades, and free agency.

On Tuesday, Lynch made an appearance on PFT Live, and Mike Florio specifically asked him who had control of the 53-man roster. Lynch offered this:

Well you know, Mike, one thing we talked about, especially when we got down there Friday, it was nice because frankly I didn’t need to job, because I had something really, really strong that I was enjoying doing, we were able to ask all those tough questions, and say, “Guys, I’ve got 24 hours, I actually had a father-daughter ball I had to get home to, we gotta figure this thing out in a hurry, so let’s lay all that out.” And really the answer with 53, 90, draft, free agency, all those things, and there’s different language that we won’t go into, but really we want this to be a true partnership. We’re really splitting things right down the middle, and everyone’s gonna say, “Well, hey there’s gotta be some way of deciding things, tiebreakers.” Really the answer is, if we can’t agree on something, we’ll move on to the next person, the next player, or we’re stay in there until we can find that consensus. That’s the way this thing is worked out, and Kyle and I are excited and committed to making it work that way.

Florio followed up by asking if there was a tiebreaker in place for impasses. After all, you can’t just move on to the next player for every situation where you don’t agree. Lynch said:

There’s a process that we’re gonna go through, and I think it’s something we’ve thought out. And, yea, that’s there, and it’s something we’re both very comfortable with.

Someone will likely ask Lynch, Shanahan, and/or York about this procedure on Thursday when they meet the media. My guess is we get a similar answer, leaving us without complete clarity on the hierarchy of things. In an ideal situation, someone like new VP of player personnel Adam Peters would hold the tiebreaker. Or maybe the procedure involves a heated game of racket ball. Who knows!