SANTA CLARA—After four weeks of searching for candidates to fill the General Manager position, the San Francisco 49ers staff announced on their website Monday, January 30 that they have officially brought on John Lynch, 45, (former Stanford and NFL safety) as the new GM. Lynch will supersede Trent Baalke who was fired on January 1. Lynch will be the 11th General Manager in the team’s recorded franchise history. Reports have noted Lynch’s hiring as “a surprise.”
Lynch, who played for former SF 49ers coach Bill Walsh during his college career, is a Hall of Fame candidate who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won a Super Bowl. He also played with the Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots for a total of 15 seasons during his professional career. According to reports, he has no front office experience in the NFL, but is familiar with broadcasting. He worked as an analyst for FOX Sports prior to accepting the GM position.
Matt Millen, former CEO and President of the Detroit Lions, offered Lynch advice regarding the front office experience. CBS Sports quoted Millen in an article posted Monday afternoon stating:
“The biggest thing that helps in those jobs is experience and having been exposed to it,” Millen said. “When you haven’t been and when you don’t have it, you’re forced to rely on other people. For little things. And so that’s why you have to know the people. That’s why you got to know them. You got to know their eyes, you got to know, philosophically, how they are, you got to know what they’re like politically, you got to know who’s trying to work you. There’s tons of stuff. And then you’ve got to know — when I say know the whole building, you’ve got to know all the people in the decision-making process, up to and including ownership.”
Team officials have issued Lynch a six-year contract. He was allegedly amongst finalists that included Minnesota Vikings Assistant GM George Paton and Stanford Cardinals Vice President of Player Personnel Terry McDonough. ESPN reported that Lynch volunteered for the GM position after speaking with Kyle Shanahan on the phone. Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, is expected to become the 49ers’ head coach after the Super Bowl LI.
Jed York, 49ers CEO, asserted in the article on the 49ers’ website about Lynch’s hiring:
“During his 15 seasons as an NFL player, John epitomized what is so special about the game of football. A world-class competitor, his love and respect for the sport are unmatched, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in league circles who does not have great respect for his work ethic and passion. Having already helped lead a team to a Super Bowl title as a player, John is equipped with tremendous insight into what it takes to create a culture that breeds sustained success. Having spent the last eight seasons as an analyst with FOX, he has honed his skills as a talented communicator while also developing valuable relationships around the league and a vast knowledge of the NFL that will be beneficial to our team. As we learned more and more about John, it became apparent that he was not only one of the best to ever play this game but also a Hall of Fame caliber man, one who people are compelled to follow.”
The 49ers cultivated a 2-14 record during the 2016 season and have gone 7-25 in the past two seasons.