John Lynch's Eye for a Good Deal Paying Off for 49ers
It's an old adage in sports that it's better to be lucky than good.
So far in the first year of his tenure as San Francisco 49ers general manager, John Lynch has been good at being lucky.
Lynch pulled the trigger on a trade to land the 49ers' new franchise quarterback, sending a second-round pick to the New England Patriots before the trade deadline to land Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo, for so long seen as the heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England by so many, is now the 49ers' quarterback of the future, and was secured for the cheap price of a pick in a round where San Francisco had two selections in 2018, following a draft-day trade with New Orleans this year.
Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan deserve praise for identifying a player they believe can be the 49ers' quarterback of the future and acquiring him for very little, though they will have to sign him to a contract extension with Garoppolo set to be a free agent in the offseason.
However, this does not appear to be a deal Lynch engineered himself. Shanahan said at Garoppolo's introductory press conference that the deal "came to our surprise", indicating it was the Patriots who picked up the phone after rejecting the 49ers' enquiries in the offseason.
If that is indeed the case, then it marks the second time in Lynch's short tenure that a favorable deal has seemingly fallen into his lap.
During the draft the 49ers were able to move back a spot and still select the player they wanted in defensive end Solomon Thomas, accepting third and fourth-round 2017 picks and a third in 2018 from the Chicago Bears as they jumped up to select Mitchell Trubisky.
He then used the fourth-rounder in the deal with the Seattle Seahawks to jump back into the first round and take the best linebacker in the draft in Reuben Foster and sent the third acquired from the Bears to the New Orleans Saints, receiving the 2018 second-rounder that has now effectively become Garoppolo.
In short, Lynch received two third-round picks and a fourth-rounder and gave up just two second-round selections while obtaining two future cornerstones of the defense in Thomas and Foster and a franchise quarterback.
Additionally, San Francisco will still have eight picks in the 2018 draft, with four in the first three rounds.
Lynch cannot and would not want to take all the credit. Chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe was a key player in the draft-day deals struck by the 49ers.
And, while what he has achieved in a short space of time in acquiring key pieces as well as extra picks is extremely impressive, these situations would not have presented themselves had the Bears not seemingly been desperate to land Trubisky and had the Patriots not come to the conclusion that every option had been exhausted in their efforts to keep Garoppolo.
So maybe it's just a case of right place, right time for Lynch and the 49ers?
At this point it's too early to say Lynch is a good general manager and it's probably a little unfair -- given his other moves on draft day -- to call him lucky.
What we can say definitively is that Lynch and Shanahan know a good deal when they see one and have the decisiveness to pull the trigger. And for that they deserve a great deal of credit.