Lynch reveals teams 49ers contacted before Dolphins trade

John Lynch

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan knew the time was now.

The 49ers roster, when healthy, is one of the best in the NFL and the incoming crop of quarterback prospects -- from Trevor Lawrence to Mac Jones -- were all very impressive. The 49ers, sitting in the No. 12 spot in the 2021 NFL Draft, felt they needed to move up to secure the quarterback they wanted to be the long-term face of the franchise.

Lynch eventually settled on a blockbuster trade with the Dolphins, sending Miami the No. 12 pick in 2021, first-rounders in 2022 and '23 and a third-round pick in 2022.

But the Dolphins weren't the only team the 49ers inquired with about a trade to move into the top five. In fact, they had conversations with every team in the top five, other than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who they knew were going to select Lawrence.

"At that point, we knew that this was a uniquely good class of quarterbacks from all the way at the top to Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, to Trey [Lance], [Justin] Fields at Ohio State, to Mac Jones," Lynch said on the latest episode of the "Cris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman." "It was a really good class. We felt like it was a good year to invest in that. Things kind of aligned, and that was a tough decision, but one we made. Then it started, ‘who is it going to be?’

"As we started to study, [we realized] that ‘hold on, there’s a problem here. There are too many teams that need quarterbacks, and even though we’re picking 12th, the ones we like, I don't think they’re going to be there at 12.’ We had really started focusing on Trey [Lance], myself, and Kyle [Shanahan] as the guy we were very much interested in. We made that move from 12, we called teams.


"We didn’t call Jacksonville at one, we talked to the [New York] Jets a little at two, we talked to Miami at three. I have a very good relationship with [Dolphins general manager] Chris Grier, that one showed promise right away, they were interested. We talked to Atlanta and four, Cincinnati at five, and we didn’t want to go any lower than that. We got the most traction with the Dolphins, that was a big move, we knew it was going to be expensive, and even more expensive because we said that we don’t want to wait and we want to do this now and beat whoever it is who also needs a quarterback to the punch. We paid a lot to do it, we paid a premium to do it. We were convinced that it was the right thing to do."

After a month's worth of traveling to pro days and pouring over more film, Shanahan and Lynch went with their initial choice and selected Lance with the No. 3 overall pick.

Fields fell to No. 11, where the Chicago Bears traded up to select the Ohio State quarterback. Jones was the final signal-caller of the "Big Five" to be drafted as the New England Patriots selected him at No. 15.

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So, technically, the 49ers could have potentially stood pat at No. 12 and had Jones fall into their lap, or made a smaller trade up to grab Fields.

But it's clear they had their eyes on Lance, and it's unknown how many teams were interested in the North Dakota State quarterback. Lynch and Shanahan believed he was their guy, and made the necessary move to secure their quarterback of the future.

As long as Lance is who they think he is, the trade will have been well worth the price.

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