49ers

Aaron Rodgers-49ers union only happens with Jimmy Garoppolo regression

Aaron Rodgers-49ers union only happens with Jimmy Garoppolo regression

Aaron Rodgers grew up rooting for the 49ers, in a hometown just a few hours’ drive from San Francisco.

Now that it appears his potential exit from the organization he spent his first 15 NFL seasons with could approaching, will Niners general manager John Lynch pull off a blockbuster trade and bring the former MVP in from the Green Bay Packers?

The short answer is no. The 49ers have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo down for a $26 million cap hit in 2020, and coach Kyle Shanahan along with Lynch have stopped at nothing to praise Garoppolo in recent months. Plus, the Packers are unlikely to trade Rodgers to a team it competes with every year for playoff positioning. After all, the Niners outscored Green Bay 74-28 in two meetings last season, including the NFC Championship Game.

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Lynch also has not shown a willingness to trade one, let along multiple first-round picks as the asking price on Rodgers won’t be cheap.

While a trade is unlikely in the near future, Rodgers is owed a substantial $6.8 million roster bonus on March 19, 2021. If the situation continues to boil over and the sides can’t patch things up, Green Bay could cut its losses, though not without a sizable $31.5 million in dead money being added onto their cap. Lynch and Shanahan kicked the tires on 42-year-old free agent Tom Brady this offseason, why wouldn’t they look into a player a handful of years younger who has had so much success in his career?

Free agency would be a much clearer path to the 49ers, but there also is the case of Garoppolo. Critics were lining up in droves to hammer Jimmy G after San Francisco blew a double-digit lead in Super Bowl LIV, in particular his third-down overthrow of the now-departed Emmanuel Sanders, a play that still haunts Sanders.

Now that the championship expectations are in place, no member of the organization has more pressure on them going into 2020 than Garoppolo. If he shows a noticeable regression and the 49ers can’t bring the Lombardi Trophy back to the Bay Area in each of the next two seasons, the Garoppolo bandwagon will become a heck of a lot lighter.

The long answer is the 49ers’ championship window never has been more wide open in the 21st century than it is now. When teams don’t hit their goals in the NFL, the blame falls on the organization’s most critical triumvirate: the general manager, coach and starting quarterback. 

[RELATED: George Kittle 'never been around' leader like Jimmy Garoppolo]

Shanahan likely would have a lot of fun devising a scheme around Rodgers’ outstanding arm talent. He even said last season that "nobody on the planet throws it better" than Rodgers. Lynch could start to feel the heat if several playoff appearances come up short, and pivot to a win-now mindset. That mindset could mean the organization chooses to move forward without Garoppolo.

Rodgers’ ties to the 49ers always have been well documented, from draft night in 2005 all the way to several heartbreaking playoff losses. But the only way we’ll be seeing Shanahan and Rodgers sharing a locker room in Santa Clara is if Garoppolo takes a massive step back in 2020. Even if Jimmy G does regress but the Niners still fulfill their dreams and win a championship, it’d be hard for the organization to move on.

Garoppolo admirably remained a consummate professional throughout the turbulent offseason chatter, and the organization has remained steadfast in supporting him.

But if outside pressure continues to mount in the coming years, those blissful feelings could evolve.

NFL rumors: Seahawks 'talking to both' Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

NFL rumors: Seahawks 'talking to both' Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

Jadeveon Clowney no longer fits into the Seattle Seahawks' plans -- nor is he a consideration for the 49ers -- due to the free agent's salary demands. It's difficult to see a path in which he would return for a second season with the Seahawks -- that is, unless he significantly lowered those demands.

Nobody, including the Seahawks, is counting on that. Consequently, they reportedly have turned their attention to two other free agent pass-rushers: Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews.

NFL Media's Mike Silver reported Thursday that Seattle could soon come to an agreement with one or both of the veteran free agents.

"The Seahawks' price has come way down," Silver said. "Clowney's price, if anything, is above their original $15 million-plus offer. So, maybe the (Tennessee) Titans, but we'll see on Clowney. But yeah, Everson Griffen -- long career with the (Minnesota) Vikings -- and then Clay Matthews, who had I thought a pretty good year with the (Los Angeles) Rams after he was healthy after his long run in Green Bay. Two former (USC) Trojans who can get after the passer. They are talking to both and I think a move could come pretty quickly, at least with one of them."

Griffen was drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round in 2010 and has spent his entire career with the franchise up to this point, amassing 74.5 career sacks over that span. Matthews, meanwhile, spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Packers before joining the Rams for this past season. He has totaled 91.5 sacks over 11 seasons, including 8.0 in 2019.

[RELATED: Bosa believes Kinlaw will 'kill it' in his 49ers rookie season]

Both Griffen and Matthews would present a significant upgrade for Seattle's pass rush, particularly considering Clowney is unlikely to be a part of it. The Seahawks' 28 sacks last season tied for the second-fewest in the NFL, while their adjusted sack rate ranked 30th in the league -- and that was with Clowney.

While Griffen and Matthews have both been productive, neither is the potential game-wrecker that Clowney is. Nonetheless, should Seattle add one or both of them, it should only make them more competitive within the NFC West.

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49ers' Nick Bosa expects Javon Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season

49ers' Nick Bosa expects Javon Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season

Nick Bosa already had no doubts 49ers rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw would be able to immediately compete in the NFL due to his strength.

And after taking part in an offseason of video meetings and seeing him for a short period of time on the 49ers’ practice field, Bosa is confident Kinlaw will not be overwhelmed mentally, either.

“Javon is a really good kid,” said Bosa, 22, who also happens to be 20 days younger than Kinlaw.

The 49ers selected Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to, in effect, take the spot of DeForest Buckner, whom San Francisco traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason for a first-round pick.

“He’s really hard-working in the meeting room,” Bosa said of Kinlaw. “He knows all his stuff really well. He doesn’t seem like a rookie out there. We’ve only been out to a couple of walk-throughs so far and he knows his stuff. He doesn’t look like a rookie.”

[RELATED: Bosa Bros have talked about possibility of playing together]

When Bosa said Kinlaw doesn't look like a rookie, he also means that his body type is impressive. Kinlaw is listed at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds.

“He’s one of the biggest humans I’ve ever seen in person," Bosa added. "That says a lot when you’ve had Arik (Armstead) and Buck on your team. I’m just excited for him to have this opportunity, and I think he’s going to kill it.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]