If there’s one thing you can always count on from NFL general managers and head coaches, it is dishonesty — especially during free agency and draft season. When John Lynch spoke to reporters at the league meetings yesterday, he didn’t disappoint.
During the Combine earlier this month, Lynch was asked by Matt Maiocco how keeping Jimmy Garoppolo, and his giant cap hit on the books would affect the team during free agency. “Yes, we can do it,” he said, “It will curtail what we are able to do, the aggressiveness in free agency.”
When Lynch spoke to reporters yesterday, however, he changed his tune. “We were able to do everything we intended to do in free agency ... We did have to free up some cap room with some conversions and things that we worked through. We were able to have the free agency that we expected and planned for.”
Unfortunately for Lynch, though, he also contradicted that statement in yesterday’s media session:
“To be completely forthright, though, when you make a trade of that magnitude, most of our options did not include Jimmy on our books (in 2022). On our team. But you always have to adapt, and a series of events happened that it didn’t work out. But that’s not a bad thing, though. We feel positive with it. And we’ll make it work.”
So, to summarize: Having Jimmy Garoppolo’s $25 million on the books curtailed the team’s aggressiveness in free agency, but they were able to have the free agency they expected and planned for even though once they made the trade up to pick three, they didn’t expect to have Garoppolo on the team at this point.
The simple truth is this: the 49ers are not listening to what the market is telling them about Jimmy Garoppolo’s value. They refused to move him last year unless they got a first-round pick, and the market told them where to stick it. This year, their price was high enough to scare teams off even during conceptual discussions about a deal.
Lynch tried to blame the surgery for the lack of a trade, but teams will make a move when they see value. The Saints signed Drew Brees after a career-threatening throwing shoulder injury.
The Browns traded a king’s ransom and gave Deshaun Watson hundreds of millions of fully guaranteed dollars despite 22 civil lawsuits pending and a looming punishment from the NFL. Two vastly different contracts and situations, but the point is that when teams see good value, they’ll deal with uncertainty. They never saw value in Jimmy Garoppolo because the cost to acquire him was just too high.
Just remember, everybody lies. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan will tell you they’re honest - don’t believe them. Beat writers will tell you the 49ers are honest - don’t believe them. There’s only one thing that you can truly rely on: actions. Judge the 49ers by what they do rather than what they say, and you’ll have a much more accurate picture of their beliefs.