Who’s running the show in San Francisco?

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The recent comments from 49ers G.M. John Lynch about 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan being “in mourning” following the trade that brought quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to town raises an intriguing question about the power structure in San Francisco: Who’s really running the show?

The manner in which Lynch was hired — he called Shanahan unsolicited to discuss the possibility at a time when everyone knew Shanahan would be the next coach — created the impression that Shanahan would be the boss, and that Lynch would be the table setter. The notion that Shanahan was “in mourning” about the disruption to his supposed “master plan” to acquire Kirk Cousins in free agency invites speculation that maybe Shanahan isn’t really running show, after all.

The truth may be that he is, but that he reluctantly realized that the best option for the franchise was to roll the dice on Garoppolo, giving up a second-round pick for the chance to evaluate whether keeping him made more sense than pursuing Cousins. If Garoppolo hadn’t panned out, they could have let him leave in free agency (getting strong consideration for compensatory draft picks in 2019) or attempted a tag and trade.

Then there’s the fact that, as of late October, it wasn’t clear that Cousins would even be available. Indeed, if the 49ers hadn’t acquired Garoppolo, Washington may have been less inclined to let Cousins hit the open market by not applying the franchise tag, motivated by a desire to keep Cousins and Shanahan from being reunited. (Yes, it would have been very petty for Washington to do that. But if you think Washington wouldn’t have at least considered doing that, you haven’t been paying close attention to that team in recent years.)

Whatever the reasoning, it makes sense to keep an eye on the broader power dynamic as the post-Baalke-Harbaugh-Tomsula-Kelly 49ers continue to develop. Of course, if the team keeps performing like it did late in the 2017 season, it won’t matter who’s making the decisions, because it will mean they’ve been making great decisions.

33 responses to “Who’s running the show in San Francisco?

  1. I seriously doubt this was the case. Yes, the most likely franchise QB they could land would be Cousins… Groppollo was not expected to be available.

  2. I think you answered your own question here Mike. Not everything is a conspiracy. Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Pretty simple.

  3. Or you could just believe them when they say they are working TOGETHER really well on an equal basis and leave it at that.

  4. They each have jobs and roles. And on paper, The GM makes the final decision. In any case, after all is said and done, AFTER he was around Garopolo he never looked Cousins way even for a minute. And that speaks volumes perhaps. They did not hesitate to lock up Garap. They saw something Bradyish in him I guess. They feel they got the best available QB. I can tell how thrilled they were and how they talked about Garop after he saved the season and how the guys responded. Remember, Garop had no preseason practice with any of those guys and yet he came in and balled out.

  5. Jackoffbunny the seecauks have hit a iceberg and are sinking back to where they have been for decades, everyone is jumping ship, and yer running yer mouth lol

  6. jackedupboonie says:
    March 25, 2018 at 5:04 pm
    It’s Clara…..it steers itself into the rocks.
    Coming from a Seattle “fan”, that’s hilarious. Your team is imploding at the seams, no one wants to go there. Seattle is the worst team in the division, with no relief in site. Enjoy the bottom. It’s been 3 years, its time for you “fans” to root for a new team. Bandwagoners.

  7. I love shecawk fans like jackedoffyerbuddy chime in when his team has totally imploded and are goin back to where the seahags have been for decades,

  8. They decided together after a twenty minute conversation to land Jimmy,Lynch received the call from Hoody. Shanny has a lot more say over things then most coaches. Lynch is a green horn and lacks experience in many areas and is still learning. I believe Shanny approved of Lynch before he was ,hired from what I read. Jimmy is better than Cousins in my opinion and Lynch and Shanny have moved on and are counting their lucky stars. I follow the team daily and read what I can so I’m confident on the information I have passed on.

  9. Of course the GM makes all of the final decisions. I’m sure Shanahan has his opinion, but that’s all it is… an opinion. If the power structure was built any other way I’d say something was wrong. Why do you think the Patriots do not employ a true GM? Belichick was handed the decision making rights years ago… avoiding a future conflict.

  10. Also to keep in mind was the 49ers were 0-8 and had stopped being competetive after back to back blowouts against Dallas and Philadelphia. Despite having a scrappy toughness to start the year, things had begun spiraling out of control.

    So even though they were set up with fancy six year deals with room for this kind of early failure to happen, it may be possible Shanahan and Lynch were already feeling enough heat at this point that they felt something dramatic was necessary. Or they were pressured from above.

    No matter how well connected, they might have figured out that no matter the money, Cousins would have no interest in an 0-16 rebuilding project. Shanahan and Lynch night have assumed they’d have 3 or 4
    wins at this point, and look like a more attractive up and coming destination. With all that lost, they looked at Jimmy G, and the rest is history.

  11. Come on Draft Day so we can get a little respite from the gossip stories. And that was pretty funny John Riggan.

  12. ” it won’t matter who’s making the decisions, because it will mean they’ve been making great decisions.”
    Oh it will matter if they start having success or maybe failure too, It’s hard
    to keep egos in check.

  13. The key in Santa Clara is to keep Jed York (and his whole family for that matter) OUT of the building, away from phones, etc. They just need to sign the checks and stay at their country club or wherever they hang out. Leave the football operation alone, let the football guys run it, and all will be well in short order.

  14. Actually, when BELICHICK told the story he said he called Shanahan. Not that it matters. I think he respected them both which is WHY he sent Jimmy G to SFO.

  15. Person A and person B are supposedly working together. Person A gets a call from someone who is offering a gift on a silver platter. They take it then tell person B. Person B start using the gift and its wonderful. They then decide to keep the gift long term.

    Where in that is anyone disresoected?

  16. If Shanahan was supposed to be the boss, why didn’t they just give him dual roles? Plenty of teams have done it. Is being a GM like being a back up QB? You just get paid a lot to stand there?

  17. With Jed York, anything is possible. We’ve witnessed a complete circus out there with Jed, Trent Baalke, Scot McCloughan, Jim Harbaugh, etc. It’s whoever can tell Jed what he wants to hear is probably who gets the power, and that could change from time to time. I’m reading quotes from John Lynch just about every day, so that tells me he’s doing more talking than working. He’s a politician for sure. It’s funny, I never hear a peep out of Howie Roseman or Bill Belichick.

  18. Kamthechancellor,we miss u hawk fans the first 30 to 40 years the hawks started hahahahahahaha

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