49ers GM John Lynch address ‘clerical payroll error’ that cost the team draft picks: 'We overpaid a player'

49ers GM John Lynch address ‘clerical payroll error’ that cost the team draft picks: 'We overpaid a player'

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Earlier this month, the NFL announced that the San Francisco 49ers would forfeit one of its 2025 draft picks. Meanwhile, the team’s 2024 fourth round pick will drop from No. 131 to 135. The punishment stems from some administrative payroll accounting errors, the league announced. 

The 49ers took responsibility for the “clerical payroll error” and accepted the league’s punishment. “We take responsibility and accept the imposed discipline from the NFL due to a clerical payroll error. At no time did we mislead or otherwise deceive the League or gain a competitive advantage in connection with the payroll mistake,” 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 back suggested the errors were a result of the team overcompensating 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 … by $75,000,” Lynch told reporters. “… This was back in the COVID era, and there was a new system in place. And so, it happened. We own our part. We’ve gone through a whole mitigation deal to remedy some of the issues that happened. But the league decided to impose that, so you take your medicine and you move on.”

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Lynch stopped short of naming the specific player he was referring to. He also shared his admiration for the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell, but made it clear that there was a “difference of opinion on the severity” of the transgression.

The NFL previously released a statement which pointed out that the franchise would have “remained under the salary at all times regardless of the error.”

49ers helmet

General view of San Francisco 49ers helmets prior to 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 found administrative payroll accounting errors at the close of the 2022 league year that resulted in a misreporting of the club’s cumulative player compensation. The NFL determined 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 statement from the NFL read.

Despite the punishment, Lynch quipped that the fifth round had yielded 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 primary issue stemmed from its efforts to recoup the money from the unarmed player, instead of immediately reporting the overpayment to the league.

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