Perhaps the 49ers are not Baalke vs Lynch, but Old Jed vs New Jed

Perhaps the 49ers are not Baalke vs Lynch, but Old Jed vs New Jed

John Lynch has already established his hyperactivity bonafides, which is what fans want from their general managers. They want action, and Lynch has force-fed them all the action that can be rammed down a human gullet.
 
Now comes the other shoe – what it all means to the way the San Francisco 49ers view their place in the world.
 
As outlined by Comrade Maiocco in one of his more anal-retentive moments, Lynch has signed as many free agents in his first 31 hours on the job as Trent Baalke did in the opening week of his last five free agency periods.
 
In short, it took Lynch three percent of the time to achieve Baalke’s level of quantity – almost six percent if you allow for sleep, which given the current state of the 49ers’ need list is a luxury Lynch clearly cannot afford. 
 
The conundrum, of course, arises in assessing the motives for this difference. We can dismiss the efficacy of those moves based on the very simple fact that none of those players have even practiced, let alone played a game.
 
But is Lynch’s aggression a statement of style or opportunity? Does he attack roster issues like an overly sugared kindergarten class, or has Jed York made a complete break from the style he wanted from Baalke? Is Lynch just tackling a far more desperate organization than the one Baalke inherited, or has York changed his view on salary cap or draft choice hoarding?
 
The answer to all these questions is clearly yes, with a side of no. Kind of.
 
Lynch has been given a mandate to dynamite a collapsing structure and use the $99 million in dust-encrusted cap room to remake a desiccated football team. More to the point, he has been granted York’s expressed permission to operate with fury and purpose in ways that Baalke either could not or would not.
 
This isn’t unusual in sport – the next guy is typically radically different than the last guy was, because if the owner liked the way the last guy operated, there wouldn’t be a next guy.
 
But Lynch, who took the job with no personnel experience bar the fact that he was once personnel, is unhindered by York’s much-presumed reluctance to tap into the cap vault. He still has approximately $70-plus million in cap room (three of the 11 players, Brock Coyle, Don Jones and Aldrick Robinson, had not yet been entered into the cap list at this writing), which makes more signings more rather than less likely.
 
And he is doing so because (a) the roster desperately needs living things, and (b) because York is tired of being the star of his own citizens’ air force, and would like to be thought of as the owner who didn’t get in the way of progress rather than the owner who undid it.
 
It is probably too much to assume that Lynch will operate in this way again next year, though, because it is unlikely that he will have as much cap room available. Motive, after all, doesn’t work without opportunity.
 
But Baalke believed in draft choices on the theory that he was better at selecting new toys than ones that were slightly broken in. Draft choices are notoriously unreliable in a different way than free agents are, so Baalke’s theory worked only if he drafted well year in and year out.
 
He didn’t.
 
Lynch, on the other hand, is working with a shockingly threadbare pantry, and the most important thing (as in first of the most important things) he has to create is a roster structure, and structure can’t be created without players. He had only his smile and money to do so, so he used them – more the second than the first.
 
But it took York rethinking his own priorities for Lynch’s aggression to be permitted, and maybe that’s the real difference we are seeing here. Not Baalke v. Lynch, but Old Jed v. New Jed.
 
Now we will wait patiently while we see if Lynch is good at this thing, because if he isn’t, the next next guy will be a lot less active in the treacherous free agent market, and far more devoted to the treacherous draft market.
 
Because that’s just the way it works. Yesterday’s conservatism is today’s boldness, and today’s impetuousness is tomorrow’s prudence. It depends on who gets to pick the words.

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Gerald Hodges is in search of a new team and he's looking at a division rival of the 49ers.

The unrestricted free agent is scheduled to visit the Seahawks on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Acquired in October of 2015 from Minnesota for a sixth-round pick, the four-year pro played in 25 games over the past two seasons with the 49ers.

In his time with San Francisco, the former fourth-round pick recorded three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

But he was not considered a fit for the new 49ers under general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Hodges was deactivated for a game late in the season at Atlanta for breaking team rules. He did not offer an explanation or apology

The 49ers have signed three linebackers through two weeks of free agency: Malcolm Smith, Brock Coyle and Dekoda Watson.

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

On the same day the FBI director announced members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are under investigation for colluding with Russia to influence the election, Trump turned his thoughts to Colin Kaepernick’s status as an NFL free agent.

And Jim Harbaugh, appearing on Pro Football Talk, suggested teams that are not showing interest in Kaepernick are making a mistake.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” Harbaugh said Tuesday morning.

“He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.”

On Monday evening, during a rally in Kentucky, Trump made remarks about Kaepernick. In the lead-up to the November election, Kaepernick called Trump “openly racist” and said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton, either.

“And you know, your San Francisco quarterback? I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said.

“There was an article today, it was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that. I said if I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky. Because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reported an AFC general manager told him there were three reasons Kaepernick has not signed. Some believe, according to the anonymous source, that Kaepernick can no longer play at a high level. Others “genuinely hate him” for kneeling during the national anthem as part of his protest of racial inequality in America.

And, “some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him,” according to the report. “They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”

Kaepernick’s teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award for courage and inspiration last season. It is historically the most prestigious award among 49ers players. But the 49ers have already signed veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

General manager John Lynch acknowledged last week on KNBR the odds of the 49ers bringing back Kaepernick are slim.

“I think the likelihood of that happening has gone down significantly. But we’re not going to close our mind or out options on anyone, including him,” Lynch said.

Even though there has been no reported interest in Kaepernick from any team around the league, Lynch said Kaepernick nearly signed with a team earlier during the free-agent signing period.

“I don’t know what happened to that market,” Lynch said. “He was, in everyone’s mind in this league, very close to signing a deal with a team at a really good number. And it fell through, apparently.”