When the San Francisco 49ers
announced they were hiring John Lynch as their general manager, there were a lot of people wondering if it was the right move for the struggling franchise, considering the fact that Lynch was previously an analyst and had no front office experience.
One year after the move, the 49ers are glad they hired Lynch because he has turned things around for the franchise, and after a season which they were expected to be competing with the Cleveland Browns
for the worst record in the NFL, the 49ers odds for next season have them competing for a playoff spot.
The first thing Lynch did after getting the job was to blow up the roster. In 2016 89 players were on the 49ers active roster and practice squad. By the time the 2017 season started, only 23 players returned.
With the roster turnover, there were a lot of young players on the team last season. Despite their youth, the 49ers played hard under rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan, even though it didn’t appear so in the win-loss column.
The 49ers started the season 0-9, and even with their terrible record, the team still went out and played hard every week.
The biggest question the 49ers had was at the quarterback position, and many NFL insiders expected the 49ers to try and sign Washington Redskins
quarterback Kirk Cousins, who played for Shanahan while he was at Washington. The other option was for the 49ers to draft a franchise quarterback.
Lynch wasn’t planning on waiting to see what will happen during the offseason and decided to solve the problem by trading for New England Patriots
backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo had shown flashes of brilliance in relief of Brady, but was still an unknown commodity. Lynch decided to send a 2nd round pick to the Patriots for Garoppolo, and the move paid off almost instantly.
Garoppolo needed a few weeks to get the 49ers playbook down, but once he was ready, infused a lot of hope into the franchise.
The 49ers had won one game by the time Garoppolo was named the starter, and once he took the field, the team never lost another game. Garoppolo led the 49ers to five consecutive wins, including three wins against playoff teams, and now has the team dreaming about not only making the playoffs next year, but also contending for the Super Bowl.
Thanks to the team’s success, Lynch is getting a lot of praise, and while he deserves all the praise he is getting, Lynch also wasn’t perfect.
Lynch’s first pick in the draft was Solomon Thomas, who didn’t have the type of impact you would expect from the third overall pick.
Rueben Foster, who was picked second by the 49ers, showed flashes of brilliance, but also dealt with a lot of injury issues. Lynch also traded away the 49ers third round pick to the New Orleans Saints, who used it to draft Alvin Kamara, who won the Rookie of the Year award and would have been a great fit in Shanahan’s offense.
Instead, the 49ers drafted running back Joe Williams in the fourth round, but he didn’t play a single down.
Despite the draft gaffes, the 49ers and their fans are pleased with the job Lynch did this year and are glad to see the team heading in the right direction again.