It feels like it’s been months since we’ve heard from the San Francisco 49ers. On Tuesday morning, general manager John Lynch spoke to the media to address all things Niners—including how the franchise tag remains an option for Arik Armstead, though no decisions have been made yet. Another one-off quote Lynch had was that he expects Joe Staley to play in 2020.
Jet staying in 2020?
Lynch said Jerick McKinnon (knee) was medically cleared at the end of the season. He said the team and McKinnon’s agent would sit down this week about a possible restructured deal. Lynch said the 49ers would like to see McKinnon in action finally. McKinnon is the best receiving back on the team, and that element was missing in 2019. Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman had experience catching passes, but McKinnon has always been a player comfortable lining up as a receiver and running routes. It’s no surprise that Kyle Shanahan and company want to see McKinnon play football before giving upon him.
If McKinnon is coming back, it’ll be because he restructured his contract. McKinnon’s cap number for 2020 is $8.5 million. If the team were to cut him, they would eat $4 million in dead money, while saving the other $4.5 in cap savings. Considering McKinnon’s injury history, they could have him back on a relatively cheap deal.
That also hints at the team moving on from Tevin Coleman. Lynch said he’d like the 49ers to keep as much continuity in their speedy running back room as they can. That suggests Matt Breida will be tendered as a restricted free agent. The team can place the UDFA tag on Breida, which means he’ll cost somewhere around $1.6 million a year.
Committed to Jimmy G
Lynch was asked how proud he was of Jimmy Garoppolo’s performance this season:
Extremely proud of Jimmy. I can’t speak enough about what a great teammate he is. From Day 1, when he entered our building, he made everyone around him better, and I think he’s continued to do that. He had his first full season as a starter, and he ended up in the Super Bowl. I’m incredibly proud, as is our entire organization, for the way how he’s handled himself and the way he’s played and led our team.
On evaluating Garoppolo’s fourth quarter in the Super Bowl:
I think we all have to take a hard look at the fourth quarter. We built this team to be finishers, and we felt short of that. We’ve all got to live with that. You know the nature of that position, it’s probably going to get examined a little more.
The follow-up question was asking Lynch about the crazy rumors that happen during the offseason, like Tom Brady, and if Lynch is committed to Garoppolo:
We’re extremely proud of Jimmy and committed to Jimmy moving forward. As I said, from the day he walked into the building, he made us better, and we continue to feel like that’s the case. That’s the most exciting thing about him is the room for growth. He’s not come close to hitting his ceiling. The more experience he gets in this system, and the more experience he gets in general, we think the arrow is pointing up, and that’s a good thing.
There you have it. Jimmy G isn’t going anywhere, no matter what you read this offseason.