49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was unhappy to hear that Matthew Stafford was going to the Rams in a trade this offseason, but that feeling would have been even worse if another big-name offensive player had landed in Los Angeles.
Shanahan shared his feelings about Stafford on the Flying Coach podcast with Rams head coach Sean McVay and Peter Schrager and then went on to say that his “biggest fear” was that the Rams were also going to swing a trade for wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones wound up going to the Titans, but the Rams were mentioned along with the AFC South team as a possible trade partner before the deal went down.
The eventual destination made Shanahan happy and said the 49ers didn’t make a stronger pursuit because of what a trade would have meant to the 49ers’ future assets, but told McVay and Schrager he would have been willing to throw caution to the wind if it looked like the Rams were closing in on the wideout.
“That’s actually the most frustrating thing for me,” Shanahan said. “I always say, ‘Let’s do it the right way,’ which, there’s no right way or wrong way, but you don’t want to have to risk your future to compete in one year. And that’s the hardest thing about being in our division because I know how Sean rolls. That’s very similar to me. And I can see that in the other two guys in our division. Julio would have helped everybody, but you know what it’s doing to your organization for that year and the years to come. That’s a really risky thing, but man, if Sean’s getting him, I’m going to risk that. I know that’s how he thinks, that’s how we all think. You’ve got to compete with your division first.”
McVay said he felt the same way as Shanahan, who referred to the NFC West’s offseason as an “arms race” that should make for some entertaining divisional action this fall.