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Tomlinson's departure means 49ers must get production from Banks

NBC Sports
Aaron Banks

As the open-negotiating period approached, it became obvious to the 49ers they would not re-sign left guard Laken Tomlinson.

He played well enough last season to price himself out of the 49ers’ budget.

Moreover, the 49ers believe they already had Tomlinson’s replacement on the roster.

A year ago, the 49ers invested a second-round draft pick in Notre Dame guard Aaron Banks. He played no meaningful snaps as a rookie after initially being considered a player who would challenge Daniel Brunskill for the starting job at right guard.

While he remained on the sideline, Banks apparently did all the right things as part of the 49ers’ developmental program. He earned favorable reviews from general manager John Lynch.

“It’s really important that the Aaron Banks of the world become players,” Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area in mid-October. “I’m saying it about a player who hasn’t been active a whole lot. Aaron Banks, in my belief, is going to be a great player for us going forward.”

Tomlinson on Monday reportedly agreed to a big-money deal with the New York Jets. He goes to Robert Saleh’s team on a three-year deal worth $40 million, the NFL Network reported. He will also be reunited with the former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and offensive line coach John Benton.

This is what the 49ers accounted for a year ago when they selected Banks with the No. 48 overall selection.

 
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Two weeks ago at the NFL Scouting Combine, Lynch again expressed optimism for a future with Banks as the starter.

“I think there’s this narrative that because Aaron didn’t play, there must be something wrong with him,” Lynch said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Quite the contrary. I think he really grew. He really reshaped his body, and we’re really excited about getting him out there and letting him compete.”

If Banks is as good as the 49ers expect, he should not face much competition to replace Tomlinson.

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