SANTA CLARA – The general managers are good friends. And, this week, they are getting a unique, unfiltered chance to evaluate players who might be available on each other’s team.
John Lynch, the 49ers’ first-year general manager, and Denver Broncos GM John Elway have spoken this week about needs and which players might be available on the trade market.
The 49ers have good depth on their defensive line, where a player such as Quinton Dial might have a difficult time making the 53-man roster due to the change to a 4-3 scheme. They could use some help at offensive guard.
“It’s kind of that time of year, where people are calling and saying, ‘Hey, you’re strong here, we’re strong here. Let’s just kind of keep these things in mind.’ And, this is a great opportunity to do that,” Lynch said.
The 49ers and Broncos went through a two-hour, fully padded joint practice behind Levi’s Stadium on Wednesday. The teams will go through another practice together Thursday with helmets and shells. It is an opportunity for both general managers to see which bubble players on the other team could make a difference with his own team.
“We did have some of those discussions,” Lynch said. “The greatest thing is lots of times you’re throwing on (film of) a preseason game. We get a chance for three days to look at some people we might be interested in. So you’re always doing that. I think they’re doing that as well and it’s another productive thing out of this week.”
The 49ers engaged in trade talks involving tight end Vance McDonald during the draft. Any team that trades for McDonald would owe him a guaranteed $2.1 million for the upcoming season. He is signed through 2021.
McDonald, however, has worked his way into strong consideration for a spot on the 53-man roster with an impressive training camp.
“I think what I’ve been thoroughly impressed, as has Kyle [Shanahan] and everybody around here, how Vance has responded to that,” Lynch said. “I thought last week against Kansas City was a great example. Even though it didn’t show up on the stat sheet, it’s as good as I’ve seen him block, and he did it consistently and he competed extremely hard.”
McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell face stiff challenges to hold onto their roster spots with the additions of newcomers Logan Paulsen and rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini.