Aaron Lynch doubles down: The 1-12 49ers one of better teams in NFL

Aaron Lynch doubles down: The 1-12 49ers one of better teams in NFL

After the 49ers lost to Tampa Bay on Oct. 23 and fell to 1-6, Aaron Lynch made a declaration:

We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down."

On Tuesday -- two days after the 49ers dropped to 1-12 with an overtime loss to the Jets -- Lynch told reporters that he still feels the same way.

"It (his mind) hasn't changed at all. I think we showed in the beginning of the game that we have one of the better teams in the league," Lynch explained. "The record isn't gonna show that -- we're whatever it is, 1-11 or 1-12, whatever that is -- I don't really look at the record. I look at how we all play and I think we all played our ass off this game and I still feel like we have a really great team.

"Obviously the stats aren't gonna show that we have one of the best teams, but as far as the way we play together and how we are on the field, I think we have a great team, so we just got to keep building off of that."

Lynch was then asked: "Do you understand why people in the media and fans don't agree with what you're saying?"

"I don't care," Lynch answered. "They're not in this locker room. They don't do what we do."

So you think there's positive momentum going into next season?

"Oh for sure," Lynch said. "Yeah, we may be losing but, like I said, not everybody has a great year. You can't go to back-to-back championships every year. It doesn't happen that way. You don't have an undefeated season every year, you don't have a winning season every year. You're gonna have your ups and downs...

"Don't get me wrong, nobody likes losing ... I don't think it's getting us down but I think it's making us want to push even harder because we want to get that win; we want to show everybody how good we really are."

Lynch was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's policy on substances of abuse.

He sustained a high ankle sprain against the Bucs and missed the next five games.

The 2014 fifth-round pick returned against New York on Sunday. He registered half a sack and a QB hit.

"I think everybody did great the whole game," Lynch said. "We all went out there and kicked ass for a long period of time but they just got the better of us at the end of the game. It is what it is."

49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks


49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks

The 49ers hosted two veteran cornerbacks on free-agent visits the past two days and could be signing either Jaylen Watkins or LaDarius Gunter as they wind down their activity on the free-agent market.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve done,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday. “I’ll never say never. We’ve had a couple of guys visit in the last couple of days. Perhaps we’ll do something there. But for the most part, we’re wrapped up and pleased with what we’ve been able to do.”

The 49ers do not have much depth behind presumptive starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. The team is also likely to add to its depth in the draft.

The 49ers met with Gunter (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) on Thursday. Gunter, 25, started 15 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He recorded 54 tackles and broke up 12 passes. He signed with the Packers in 2015 as an undrafted rookie from Miami.

Gunter was waived at the beginning of last season and the Carolina Panthers claimed him. He appeared in just four games with Carolina, which did not tender him as a restricted free agent.

The 49ers on Wednesday met with Watkins, 26, a versatile defensive back who appeared in 36 games with five starts in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Watkins (5-11, 195) played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'


Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'

STANFORD – Free-agent safety Eric Reid chatted with 49ers general manager John Lynch on the sideline, then moved into position onto the field for an up-close view of his brother’s pro day workout Thursday at Stanford University.

Younger brother, Justin, is aiming to be a first-round draft pick like Eric, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Both football futures of the Reid brothers remain uncertain. Justin's fate will be determined on draft day. Eric Reid remains in limbo as an NFL free agent. He has not gotten any action in the first week of free agency, and the 49ers have not made him a contract offer, he said.

But Lynch said the 49ers are closely monitoring Reid’s situation. However, the organization already has three safeties they like: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.

“Eric played and played well for us last year,” Lynch said. “I think he’s stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet. And I would anticipate things starting to shake for him and we’ll see.

“I’d never say never. I really do think opportunities will start to come his way. We’ve been monitoring it closely and we’ll see how that shakes out.”

Reid, 26, a six-year NFL veteran, said his agent has spoken recently to “a couple of teams,” but no contracts or visits have been proposed.

Reid’s market might be impacted by his up-front role in the protests of racial inequality of the past two seasons. Reid and Colin Kaepernick were the first players to take a knee during the national anthem at the beginning of the 2016 season.

Reid said he would probably not take part in any future protests during the national anthem.

“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.

“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”

Reid said he has no regrets. He said he is willing to deal with the consequences of how NFL teams viewed his role in the protests.

“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.

“I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”