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49ers GM John Lynch Talks ‘Payroll Mistake’ That Cost Team Draft Picks: ‘We Overpaid a Player’

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Earlier this month, the NFL announced that the San Francisco 49ers would forgo one of their 2025 draft picks. Meanwhile, the team’s 2024 fourth-round pick will fall from No. 131 to 135. The penalty is due to some payroll errors, the league announced.

The 49ers accepted responsibility for the “payroll clerical error” and accepted the league’s penalty. “We accept responsibility and accept the disciplinary action imposed by the NFL due to a payroll clerical error. At no time did we mislead or otherwise deceive the league or gain any competitive advantage in connection with the payroll error,” the Niners said in a statement.

At this week’s league meetings in Florida, 49ers general manager John Lynch was asked about the circumstances surrounding the downgraded or revoked draft selection. The former Pro Bowl defensive lineman suggested the mistakes were a result of the team overcompensating for one of its players.

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Oct 16, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch on the field before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

“We overpaid a player $75,000,” Lynch told reporters. “… This was back in the COVID era, and there was a new system. And so it happened. We are doing our part. We put a whole mitigation agreement in place to address some of the issues that arose. “But the league decided to enforce that, so you take your medication and move on.”

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Lynch did not mention the specific player he was referring to. He also expressed admiration for the league and commissioner Roger Goodell, but made it clear that there was a “difference of opinion about the severity” of the violation.

The NFL previously released a statement indicating that the franchise “would have remained below salary at all times regardless of the error.”

49ers helmet

General view of the San Francisco 49ers helmets before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 21, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

“This action resulted from a league review that identified errors in payroll accounting at the end of the 2022 league year that resulted in a misstatement of the club’s cumulative player compensation. “The NFL concluded that the club would have remained under the salary cap at all times regardless of the error and there was no intent to circumvent the cap,” the NFL statement said.

Despite the punishment, Lynch joked that the fifth round produced some “pretty good” results. San Francisco’s star tight end George Kittle was among the franchise’s notable fifth-round selections.

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Lynch explained that the team’s main problem was that it tried to recover the money from the unarmed player instead of immediately reporting the overpayment to the league.

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