San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch simply can’t get over Khalil Mack (a.k.a. The one who got away).
“I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but we tried like heck to acquire Khalil Mack,” Lynch said in an interview with 95.7 The Game, via CBS Sports. “But it didn’t work out. But, you try by any means necessary to get it but it’s not easy. Guys that are free, they never become free because they’re so coveted in this league. They’re franchise (tagged) typically or they work out a new deal.”
Ironic. Lynch says he is trying not to beat a dead horse, all while continuing to strike said horse over and over. Yawn.
Lynch would go on to re-iterate his belief that the 49ers offered more than the Bears did to secure a Mack deal. Naturally, that’s a headline-grabber that’s been making its way around various media outlets. But here’s the thing … did they? No, seriously. More doesn’t necessarily mean better. More could be a package that included picks and players the Raiders didn’t have an interest in. That could constitute offering “more” but not necessarily better. Let’s not allow these two words be used interchangeably because they don’t actually mean the same thing. Quantity does not equal quality.
So once again, I ask: Did the 49ers make a better offer to the Raiders than the one that was proposed by the Bears and ultimately accepted? Because according to one source, the answer is no.
“We made every effort to secure his services. … We went in there and we went in there hard,” GM John Lynch told KNBR radio, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Our offer was very similar to the won out. I don’t know what went into the Raiders’ mind-set in terms of where they sent him.”
The phrase that pays here is “our offer was very similar.” Because in the matter of a month, the 49ers offer went from similar to the one the Raiders received from the Bears to more (and presumably, at least in some circles, better) than the one that was chosen by the powers that be in Oakland. How … how is that possible? This seems to be a classic case of using revisionist history to cover one’s behind. And while some might buy it hook, line, and sinker, the cynic in me finds the timing here to be especially curious.
Talk of Lynch fleecing Bears GM Ryan Pace in the 2017 draft day deal that moved Chicago into a position to draft North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky has all but subsided. Trubisky has taken notable strides in his second year as a starter and led the Bears to a 7-3 start before missing his first start of 2018 on Thanksgiving because of a shoulder injury. As for the 49ers, well, their much-ballyhooed class isn’t looking to great right now. First, let’s re-visit the components of The Trade.
Pass-rusher/defensive end Solomon Thomas (the player the 49ers wanted all along) has been mostly a non-factor through 25 games of his professional career. Thomas has just 4 sacks in his first two seasons – three of which came in his rookie season. He has just one sack in 2018 and has played on just 56.5 percent of the team’s defensive snaps all while playing in each of the team’s first 11 games (making nine starts).
Running back Alvin Kamara was selected with the 3rd-round selection (67th overall) and he’s been undeniably great … for the New Orleans Saints. Safety Tedric Thompson was selected with the 4th-round choice (111th overall) and he is now a starter in the secondary … for the Seattle Seahawks in place of an injured Earl Thomas. Tack on that the team’s other first-round selection linebacker Reuben Foster was released after a domestic-violence arrest in Florida and suddenly that fleecing doesn’t look all that great. But hey, at least the 2018 3rd-rounder (linebacker Fred Warner) has been a starter since Week 1.
I get that Lynch is trying to cover for himself here. He lost out on the biggest fish to hit the trade market and isn’t receiving the praise he once did for his draft day prowess in 2017, because the players he acquired aren’t panning out as expected.
Perhaps that praise should go to Pace, who came out of that draft with three key cogs (Trubisky, running back Tarik Cohen, safety Eddie Jackson) on a team that’s currently 8-3 and sitting atop the NFC North standings. Maybe we should give credit to Pace, who built a well-rounded roster, saw what he believed was going to be a better team than many expected, envisioned Mack as the missing piece, and made a trade that has shifted the power in the division for this season.
It’s a crazy thought, but one worth sharing: Maybe it’s almost as if – hang with me for just a moment – we should allow things to play out before making sweeping declarations.