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Lynch: Fred’s a special leader, a special player, and a big part of the fabric of this team

The Niners’ star LB is on the verge of a significant pay raise if he’s extended this offseason.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media on Monday at length to discuss everything Niners related for this upcoming offseason. While quarterback will be a draining topic for the next couple of months, the team will have difficult decisions to make elsewhere.

Fred Warner will not be one of those difficult decisions. Warner is under contract through the 2021 season, but many believe the star linebacker is in line to receive a hefty extension this offseason.

Lynch said, “they earn everything they’re going to get, and when you watch a guy as Fred operate— he won a couple of the big team awards, the Len Eshmont and the Bill Walsh— prestigious. When you walk by that wall and see the names that have won that, and the history of this place, that means a lot.

But I think to Fred, and Kyle talks a lot about intentional practice, I don’t know that a player represents that better across the league. Everything you see him do on the field, he works at. He’s become incredible at punching the ball out. Every day at practice, he’s doing it so much that I fear he’s going to break his hand. But you see it translate on the field.

I can tell you that it’s one of the good stories when he’s exceeded every expectation we’ve had of him when he came in here, and we had high expectations. So, we’ll take that when it comes. Fred’s a special leader, a special player, and a big part of the fabric of this team. And I see that as an opportunity, and we’ll find a way to keep him here.”

That’s a general manager gushing about a player who is on the verge of getting paid.

Warner is quick to give his teammates credit. He was asked a couple of times on both Sunday and Monday about his potential contract, but Warner didn’t give reporters any information: “I’m going to let that stuff sort itself out. I have no idea what’s to come and whatnot.” He ended his response by saying, “what kind of question was that,” under his breath, which is hilarious and also very Warner-like.

The All-Pro linebacker-to-be often wears his heart on his sleeve and became more emotional as the season went along and the losses piled up. Warner was visibly frustrated and had every reason to be. When the contract questions came up, Warner’s smile said it all.