John Lynch is a risk that will pay off for the 49ers

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John Lynch could end up working out well for the 49ers.

While most analysts and bloggers are expressing concerns with San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch’s lack of experience or unprecedented 6 year contract, few are considering that even if Jed’s hire was out of desperation and at the behest of his head-coach-to-be, John Lynch could end up being a risk that ultimately pays off for the 49ers. Here are some reasons why:

1.) His age and lack of front office experience will work well with Jed. It’s clear that the falling out between former head coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers front office had profound negative repercussions that are still felt today. As we’ve discussed before, millennials like Jed prefer a flat corporate structure where everyone is free to engage like peers without fear of criticism or being talked down to in any way. Someone who is younger, whose lack of experience will necessitate close interaction and front office support, could be a better fit with executives like Jed York and Paraag Marathe, both of whom seem to be determined to be very hands on. It also doesn’t hurt that John Lynch is friendly enough with Jed to be having sleepovers at Jed’s house.


2.) Kyle Shanahan has a solid relationship with Lynch and believes in him. After playing his final four seasons under Mike Shanahan, John Lynch continued his friendship with Kyle Shanahan for the past eight years. Since Lynch has had front office aspirations modeled after former player John Elway, he has been hungry for the chance and humble enough to reach out to Kyle Shanahan after the Falcons Divisional Playoff win and began selling himself. Kyle’s familiarity with Lynch combined with Lynch’s humble approach to a GM role where he will cede significant say over the draft and personnel, led to Shanahan ultimately choosing Lynch and this dynamic will bode well for the future of the organization’s success. The 49ers are still picking up the pieces from a toxic dynamic between the GM and HC, so they are already off to a better start with Lynch and Shanahan. Here’s what Kyle Shanahan had to say about John Lynch:

“But if I’m going to bet on anybody, I’m going to bet on John Lynch. He’ll have to learn some stuff as he goes, just like we all do, but you’re going for the person. John Lynch has succeeded in everything, and that excites me about him.The people who know him know how special of a guy the 49ers got.”

3.) John Lynch is smarter than most. High intelligence does not guarantee NFL front office success, but it could end up making all the difference in the world, particularly for someone who has less experience and will have a steep learning curve. Bottom line, if someone needs to get up to speed on a learning curve, his or her chances are much better if they were smart enough to get into Stanford. Kyle Shanahan agrees with this idea:

“I believe any time you have a smart guy who’s very talented and has extremely high character and has no problem working extremely hard; I feel when you have a person like that who has all those qualities, and you give him the time, it’s a matter of time before he figures it all out, And John, as anybody who met him, he’s as impressive as a human being as there is. He’s succeeded in anything he’s done.”

4.) John Lynch will bring fresh eyes and energy. Look, John Lynch could very well end up as Matt Millen 2.0 in being a former player with no front office experience who does not succeed as a GM. While experience is certainly important, it is not the be all end all of success in the front office and I would argue that fresh eyes or the beginner’s mind, as they say in Buddhism, can allow for unbiased perspectives that can facilitate positive innovation and change that might be missed by someone who has been kicking the can down the road for years. And being a former player does not mean one can’t be successful as a GM, former NFL linebacker Reggie McKenzie winning NFL Executive of the Year is proof. And the energy that John Lynch brings as a player will be a welcome contrast to Trent Baalke’s tired, old conservative ways that failed despite all of Trent’s front office experience.

5.) John Lynch know he needs and is willing to ask for help. One of the most important qualities we look for when training new professionals is their willingness to ask for help. John Lynch is a smart guy and part of his intelligence is knowing what he can’t do. Based on this insight, John Lynch already had an idea for his number two person that would help him with personnel before he even took the job, and it was announced today that Adam Peters, formerly of the Broncos, will become the 49ers vice president of player personnel.

So even with his relative lack of experience, John Lynch’s intelligence, solid dynamic with Kyle Shanahan and Jed York, fresh eyes/energy and willingness to ask for help bodes well for the future of the 49ers. In time, we might see that Jed York may have gotten it right with these hires, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile, right?

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  • EdGar Toepel

    Win or lose a class act.

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