49ers GM Lynch provides Greenlaw, Hufanga injury updates

49ers GM Lynch provides Greenlaw, Hufanga injury updates originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

ORLANDO, Fla. — Linebacker Dre Greenlaw is a candidate to start the 2024 season on the physically unable to perform list, according to 49ers general manager John Lynch.

Lynch spoke to local Bay Area media Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting, and shared that Greenlaw’s surgery was successful. However, because his Achilles injury occurred in February, the linebacker likely will miss a few games at the beginning of the season.

“The Achilles takes a while,” Lynch said. “Dre will tell you he’s going to be back Week 1, and I don’t put anything past Dre, but we have to be smart. Maybe a PUP situation.”

The 49ers signed linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year contract as a contingency plan in case Greenlaw isn’t ready for Week 1. They also re-signed Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and Curtis Robinson and brought in Ezekiel Turner, all on one-year deals.

“I think De’Vondre gives us the opportunity,” Lynch said. “A guy who plays the way we play, a guy who has got a ton of experience, that can fill in for Dre if he’s not there. And then we have three really accomplished guys who have played at a high level obviously, [until] Dre is back.”

The team also has a placeholder on the roster in case safety Talanoa Hufanga hasn’t fully recovered from an ACL injury by Week 1. The USC product suffered the injury during Week 11 of the 2023 season and should be set to return this season, but nothing is guaranteed with a major knee injury.

“Talanoa is doing really well,” Lynch said. “That’s the great news. He’s rehabbing extremely well — beating the timeline. Talanoa is a worker, and he’s doing a great job.”

Lynch sees Ji’Ayir Brown as a player who has been developing into his starting role alongside veteran Tashaun Gipson, a free agent who could return for a third season in the Bay. Special teams ace George Odum also is a candidate to fill in at safety.

“We’re incredibly high on Ji’Ayir,” Lynch said. “His prospects for becoming a player at that position that we can really trust and a playmaker as well. Those guys we feel good about it. Do you continue to add? We have George Odum, Gip is a guy we always kept in touch with and will continue to, and do we want to add? We will see.

“We kind of feel like we are wrapping up free agency, but there may be one or two more moves.”

Several notable safeties such as Jamal Adams, Justin Simmons, Eddie Jackson, Micah Hyde and Quandre Diggs still are free agents, but the 49ers will not break the bank at the position. They could wait until after the draft at the end of April to add needed depth.

“The safety market kind of took a beating,” said Lynch, a Hall of Fame safety himself. “Kind of feel bad for those guys. Took years to get the guys to where they were being compensated, and a bunch of them got cut, which is why some really good players were out there. You’d be foolish to not take a look, so that’s what we did.”

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