Amid Jackson drama, 49ers reiterate confidence in QB situation


PHOENIX — Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, made it known Monday he requested a trade from the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month.

And around that same time, 49ers general manager John Lynch was making it clear the organization feels good about the three quarterbacks already on the team’s roster.

“We have conversations on everything,” Lynch said at the NFL Annual Meeting when asked if the 49ers discussed the possibility this offseason of pursuing a high-profile veteran quarterback.

“We really like our group.”

Jackson turned down the Ravens’ offer of of a five-year contract extension worth $250 million with $133 million fully guaranteed, ESPN reported. So when it comes to draft capital and cap dollars, it is going to take a lot for any team to add Jackson.

The 49ers rank on the low end of NFL teams in cap space.

San Francisco has been able to stack its roster with highly paid players at nearly every position because its quarterbacks — Trey Lance, Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold — are scheduled to be paid a total of approximately $4.2 million in base salary for the upcoming 2023 season.

While it might be fun to talk about, it would not seem to be a reasonable approach for the 49ers to go all-in on Jackson, who missed 10 games the past two seasons due to injuries.

The subject of Jackson is a big topic at the NFL Annual Meeting. And there is certain to be speculation tying Jackson to any team without a clear-cut starting quarterback.

The NFL last week sent a memo warning teams against entering into any discussions with a man named Ken Francis, who reportedly has been working on behalf of Jackson but is not a certified NFL agent.

When asked about Francis, Lynch answered, “I don’t know who that is.”

The 49ers have a stacked roster with high-priced players because they do not have a quarterback eating up most of their cap dollars.

“When you look at our roster, we got a lot of really good football players who are under contract,” Lynch said. “And the next few years, that’s when we have the core of our team together.”

The one big offseason expenditure the 49ers made was signing former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million contract.

“To us, it made sense, let’s press forward and not be irresponsible, but let’s press forward and have a plan and we got the backing of our ownership able to land Javon, and that was huge for us,” Lynch said.

The team’s priority at quarterback this offseason, Lynch said, was to find a veteran quarterback to provide some insurance for Purdy and Lance.

The 49ers ended up signing Darnold to a deal that could pay him $3.85 million. Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

RELATED: Lynch: Purdy 'leader in the clubhouse' for 49ers' starting QB job

After three forgettable seasons with the New York Jets, Darnold showed some good signs last year with the Carolina Panthers.

“We always felt Sam, going back to when we studied him coming out of (USC), was a good fit for what we do offensively,” Lynch said. “We’ve continued to study him throughout.”

Purdy is less than three weeks into an approximate six-month process to get fully cleared after elbow surgery. Lynch said he believes Purdy is “the leader in the clubhouse” when it comes to the starting position for the 2023 season.

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