San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch was off to a good start.
Lynch first did the smart thing by teaming up with coach Kyle Shanahan and then immediately trading away tight end Vance McDonald to Pittsburgh. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll turn our heads the other way and try to look past the whiff on rookie phenom quarterback Deshaun Watson. It’s a big head turn, but we’re gonna do it anyway. For the first time in a long time, it felt like the 49ers organization was finally getting back on track following the Jim Harbaugh debacle. Then stranger things started to happen (again).
Linebacker Navorro Bowman was essentially given away for any team in the league to sign without a sniff of compensation. Granted Bowman was past his prime, he was still worth something. We understand goodwill for years of service, but if your team is hurting (as are the 49ers), then compensation is warranted. Like we learned in New Jack City 101, business is business.
Let’s be 100% clear here, the 49ers are hot garbage this year and everything the organization does is about tomorrow, not today. However, when Lynch showed his Navorro Bowman hand, the New England brass took notice. Particularly Bill Belichick. Not just regular Bill Belichick, but Hoodie Belichick.
Belichick’s been rolling out backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarter at a time, for years. If we’ve been lucky, we’ve seen Jimmy for perhaps a game or three over a 3-year span. On the surface, Jimmy’s mechanics, pocket presence, and accuracy certainly seemed to have checked all of the boxes. Teams and fans alike appeared to be wowed at what New England had in the pipeline behind ironman, Tom Brady. All the while, Belichick’s always known what he’s had in Jimmy.
Jimmy is a backup quarterback. He’s not a starter. He’s certainly not Deshaun Watson and we can’t even be sure that he’s any better than the mid-tier Trevor Siemian. Jimmy’s good for a game or two. That’s it. However, Belichick has been wrong before. Remember when the team let Wes Welker walk on over to Denver? Mistake.
By 49ers GM John Lynch basically giving away LB Navorro Bowman, he showed a weakness. He simply walked into the wrong neighborhood and didn’t know the rules. The neighborhood he found himself in houses masterminds like Warriors’ Bob Myers, Athletics’ Billy Beane, Cubs’ Theo Epstein, Spurs’ Greg Popovich, and of course, Hoodie Belichick. Only a rookie GM that smells of baby formula would even consider fielding a call from one of these guys. They’re sharks and they’ll strip your organization clean off the bone, all the while making you think that you actually got a good deal.
Now, here we are, hours after Lynch made the mistake of answering his phone. The 49ers have traded away a future second round draft pick for the services of backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo (eight games before he hits free agency). Unless there’s a three-way flip coming that we’re unaware of, something’s gone horribly wrong here. The 49ers have taken yet another step back in their quest to become a mere discussion in the league, while Hoodie Belichick just stacked the deck for next year’s championship run.