The Choice: Trey Lance

The Choice: Why 49ers' huge draft trade initially left Lynch ‘uneasy'

  • Programming noteListen to "The Choice: Trey Lance" on 49ers Talk every Thursday for show segments leading up to the full TV premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 7, on NBC Sports Bay Area.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch was watching his daughter’s high school tennis match in Atherton five months ago when he received a promising call from Miami Dolphins counterpart Chris Grier.

Grier agreed to the terms of the trade the men had been negotiating.

But, Grier told Lynch, he couldn't completely commit to the deal because one more piece of the puzzle on his end had to fall into place before they could finalize it.

He didn't tell Lynch the other part.

“These transactions lead to other things happening, so that left me a little uneasy,” Lynch said.

The 49ers and the Dolphins agreed to a trade in which San Francisco would move up to No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and, in return, send Miami its pick at No. 12, as well as first-round selections in 2022 and 2023, and a third-round pick in 2022.

But the Dolphins wanted to use some of the draft capital they picked up from the 49ers to conduct the other trade. Miami sent the 2021 pick it acquired from San Francisco (No. 12 overall), a fourth-round pick and a 2022 first-round pick to Philadelphia to move up to No. 6 overall in 2021, as well as receive a fifth-round pick from the Eagles.

One day after tentatively agreeing to the deal with the 49ers, Grier made the call to Lynch to finalize it.

Lynch was with 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters and vice president of player personnel Ethan Waugh in the Brigham Young University parking lot for quarterback Zach Wilson's pro day when Grier called.

The trade now was official.

The 49ers' first order of business was to get in touch with veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to inform him before the news broke.

“We weren’t going to do this without calling Jimmy, so Kyle [Shanahan] called him, then I called Jimmy,” Lynch said. “There are people to this day who said, ‘I saw you leave the pro day to go do this,’ and [Robert] Saleh was one of those guys. He saw, and said, ‘You came all this way and you’re leaving?’ ”

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When ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news on Twitter on Friday, March 26, at 10:04 a.m. PT, Lynch said he was standing near the New York Jets’ contingent of Saleh, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and general manager Joe Douglas.

“Saleh’s looking at his phone,” Lynch said. “Meanwhile, Adam Peters is over talking to Scott Fitterer, who’s at Carolina, and I started getting strange looks from all over.

“So, I made a quick exit because I didn’t want to answer questions. My phone started to blow up. It was an interesting day.”

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