Perhaps that's why the front office was gauging the trade value of Ahmad Brooks ahead of last week's deadline.
If general manager Trent Baalke was dangling Brooks in trade talks, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was unaware of it.
"You know it was never mentioned to me before the trade deadline ended," Fangio said Tuesday on KNBR-AM, "and I would think that if there was any seriousness going on along those ways, that Trent would have mentioned it to me. And he never did, so I think those reports are way out of line."
We have no doubt Brooks' name was bandied about in trade talks. We may never know whether those discussions were casual or serious.
Several nucleus players, including Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and Mike Iupati, have contracts that will need to be addressed next offseason. Now that young outside linebackers Lynch, Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier have shown flashes of promise, the 49ers might reach the conclusion that Brooks' $6 million salary for 2015 is a luxury rather than a necessity.