Going into the 2022 season, questions still surround the 49ers. Will Deebo Samuel remain with the team under a new contract? Will Jimmy Garoppolo be traded? Is second-year quarterback Trey Lance NFL ready?
On a recent episode of the podcast 3 and Out, host John Middlekauff theorized about the relationship between Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.
Middlekauff said that the head coach of 49ers chose Lynch because he knew that the latter won't interfere much with his decision making.
"I personally think the only reason Lynch has a GM job is that Shanahan knew he could make him his puppet. Do you think Kyle has too much pull on who we draft? I feel like, if he wasn't as involved in the draft, we'd be better off. The last two drafts had been way too many reaches. And he always overvalues the guys he likes. Should Jed man up and reassign Lynch to President of football operations and make Adam Peters our general manager? I think Adam and John play a pretty big role. I really do because if they didn't, Mac Jones would probably be on the team."
Middlekauff went on to say that Trey Lance managed to retain his place in the team because some people have convinced Kyle Shanahan about his quality.
"Listen, and I wouldn't say I'm a resident Mac Jones hater, but there's a decent chance he has a better career than Trey Lance, because he is a boom or bust guy. There's no, Trey Lance is not having Mac Jones-like seasons last year. Trey Lance is gonna be really good or really bad. I don't see any in-between. And the only reason Trey Lance is on the team, I believe, is because guys like John Lynch and Adam Peters convinced Kyle Shanahan.”
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers could see a very different end to their season with Trey Lance under center
Whether or not Shanahan has that kind of pull is hard to say, but in the grand scheme of things, the 49ers have had more losses under the head coach than wins.
At 39-42, Middlekauff may be right to criticize the last two drafts. And while they could possibly retain Garoppolo, the veteran would be out for a good portion of the offseason due to shoulder surgery.
The last time Garoppolo missed that much time, the team went 6-10 on the season. Of course, they didn’t have Trey Lance back then. Lance will no doubt be the starter as the season gets underway, but only time will tell if he’s boom or a bust.