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If you’re looking for the NFL’s epicenter of drama right now it’s the San Francisco 49ers.
This isn’t a debate because while the 49ers are a well-run organization with good coaching and a talented roster, stuff has nonetheless gotten a little weird at times this offseason.
Take this week. Please.
Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw admittedly accosts reporter Grant Cohn both on the field physically and then verbally later that evening on his YouTube show.
The next day several current and former 49ers close ranks around Kinlaw. They get after the reporter for his boasts that, “if he’d touched me, if he’d pushed me, dude, I could’ve retired retired today …”
So defensive lineman Arik Armstead, long snapper Taybor Pepper, tight end George Kittle and others aked why Cohn is allowed in the 49ers’ building. Armstead went so far as to say Cohn is “the type of low life we let into our building.”
Now, let’s all agree there is no moment when a 320-pound defensive tackle body up on any reporter for whatever reason. Vice versa also, by the way (joke). But that is exactly what happened apparently before the two sparred verbally, as reported Wednesday on OutKick.
Cohn clearly has a certain approach that can be considered, shall we say, snarky?
“It escapes me which of the hundred negative things I’ve said about Javon Kinlaw the last couple of years moved him to approach me in such a way,” Cohn said.
The amazing thing is this is only a drama appetizer the 49ers have served up this offseason.
Remember there is the Deebo Samuel trade-me drama.
The Jimmy Garoppolo trade drama.
The Jimmy-Garoppolo-has-shoulder-surgery-thus-ruining-the team’s-trade-plans side dish.
And the looming Jimmy-Garoppolo-doesn’t-want-to-report-to-training-camp second course that could come in July.
It really is a heaping helping of drama from the Niners so far.
Samuel, who wants a new contract but not from the 49ers, has not yet rescinded his trade request. But the 49ers so far have zero intention of trading the receiver and plan to give him a new deal regardless of their current worst-in-the-NFL salary cap situation.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said this week he believes the relationship between the team and Samuel is much improved from the low points prior to the draft last month.
“Yeah, of course I do,” Shanahan said. “And I felt that the last time I talked to you guys at draft time and I feel the same, if not stronger.”
That’s good enough. Weird still, but good enough.
The Garoppolo situation is not so good.
Garoppolo is rehabilitating from shoulder surgery in March. He hasn’t been seen at the 49ers facility since he cleared out his locker the day after a 20-17 playoff loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship game.
He hasn’t been in contact with many teammates, either, including Kittle, who is a good friend.
New quarterback coach Brian Griese has been working with presumptive 2022 starting quarterback Trey Lance, and backups Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy. Griese told reporters he’s not spoken, texted, faxed or smoke signaled with Garoppolo since being hired.
So Garoppolo has been something of a ghost this offseason and it’s not that he’s angry at the organization but rather just ready to move on.
“He does his own thing in the offseason,” Kittle said.
A person familiar with Garoppolo told OutKick this offseason is different because Garoppolo initially wasn’t expecting to have to report for veteran minicamp in San Francisco because he figured he be traded by then. And he definitely has no expectation of having to report back to the 49ers complex for training camp.
“He’s getting ready for what’s next and not just physically but mentally, too,” the source said.
The problem is Garoppolo apparently wrecked a trade the club had in place earlier by having his surgery when he did. And until he’s able to throw and convince a team he’s going to be healthy neither the 49ers nor another team — perhaps Carolina — will likely seal a deal.
“Yeah, nothing’s changed since the surgery, we knew where we were at before that, and then he got the surgery, so everything went on hold,” Shanahan said. “I expect him at some time, most likely to be traded, but who knows. It’s not a guarantee and it’s been exactly on hold when that happened. And when he is healthy, we’ll see what happens.”
When he’s healthy Garoppolo will be traded. The team wants to gain the $25.5 million salary cap relief by moving the player and get some compensation in return.
But what if that doesn’t happen even after Garoppolo is already supposed to be throwing in July?
What if the no trade is possible before training camp begins?
Garoppolo does not want to report to that camp and find himself in an uncomfortable situation for himself and the team. So the 49ers might be forced to merely release him.
There’s a word for this uncertainty now: Drama.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero