There was a prevailing logic surrounding the San Francisco 49ers during last offseason that new GM John Lynch and new coach Kyle Shanahan were for Kirk Cousins or signing the Redskins quarterback to a mega deal once he hit free agency.
Garoppolo showed up,and helped to make the pick they were giving away less valuable while turning the 49ers into one of the offseason's trendiest playoff picks for next year.
It wasn't always that clean, though. Lynch explained on ESPN's "Golic and Wingo" that Shanahan was "in mourning" because the trade for Garoppolo denied him the chance to go after another QB.
"We made the [Garoppolo] trade, but then there were some days when Kyle Shanahan was, like, in mourning, because I think everybody knows his master plan was to have Kirk Cousins come in eventually," Lynch said. "I was proud of Kyle, because I think he knew this was the right thing for our franchise. And he didn't hesitate. But then, even then, Jimmy had to really prove himself."
That's a pretty wild admission, because you don't often hear a GM be that honest about how his coach feels towards another quarterback. We all believed the 49ers and Shanahan coveted Cousins -- I even.
Shanahan was on the coaching staff when the Redskins selected Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Redskins didn't want to invest in Cousins long term. The 49ers needed a quarterback and had tons of cap space. All the pieces looked like they fit, until they didn't.
What makes it really fascinating though, is that now, after Garoppolo looked so great, this seems like a no-brainer pick. The 49ers hosed the Patriots. The Patriots regret everything! Except the 49ers weren't 100 percent sure that Garoppolo was the way to go about the whole acquire-a-quarterback process. That's what the admission means.
Shanahan, the offensive mastermind behind the 49ers, like Garoppolo coming out of college, so he clearly was cool with the move. But he was obviously a little hesitant to go in a direction other than Cousins, even if he had to know that a Garoppolo in hand is better than two Kirks in the bush.
It worked out pretty well for everyone involved. Garoppolo gets to start, the Patriots get a high draft pick, Vikings land a quarterback who can put them over the top.and the
But it's a reminder that there is always an alternate reality lurking in the NFL.