Apart from the fact that Shanahan’s father, Mike, drafted Cutler to Denver, 49ers G.M. John Lynch played with Cutler in Denver and regards Cutler as a friend.
“I like Jay, he’s a friend of mine,” Lynch said during a radio interview in 2009. “He had some growing up to do, probably still has some growing up to do. But in saying that, I think the Broncos erred in letting him go.
“This is a guy, in my mind, that’s a once-in-every-15-year-type talent. He’s got that kind of skill. I think he’ll grow into the other things. I sometimes think during this whole ordeal, they tried to paint him as a bad guy, but he’s not a bad guy at all. He’s got some growing up to do, but hopefully he learned something from this whole ordeal and offseason.”
That said, don’t count on Lynch trading for another former teammate from the Broncos. In the same interview, he offered a “buyer beware” assessment of receiver Brandon Marshall, who was drafted by Mike Shanahan in the same year that Cutler was selected.
“As I said, on the field, he’s very comparable to a guy like Terrell Owens. He’s that good of a player. But being a professional in my mind . . . takes doing it on the field and off the field. You can’t have all choir boys. I believe in first and second chances, but when you’re talking about 13 or 14 . . . I think at a certain point you’ve got to say this guy’s got some issues that he’s got to work out before you can trust him.”
In the eight years since then, Marshall has indeed worked through issues and matured considerably. Cutler, by all appearances, has grown up as well. Given that both are currently under contract with other teams and in light of the fact that Lynch now works for the 49ers, it won’t be known whether his opinion has changed unless and unless he does, or doesn’t, trade for either guy.