San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York told the media back in early January that he wanted a partnership between his head coach and general manager. He would not commit to which role he would hire first, but it turned into, hire the coach then figure out a GM with whom he could work. John Lynch got in Kyle Shanahan’s ear, and next thing we know, Lynch and Shanahan are the pairing.
It seemed like Kyle Shanahan had the leverage to control as much of the roster as he would want. In the end, the split of duties puts the two men into a position where they will need to work together effectively. Lynch would not get into specifics during his Monday conference call, but Jim Trotter heard from the 49ers that Lynch would have control of the 90-man roster, and final say over the draft and free agency, while Shanahan would have final say on the 53-man roster. That means roster cuts are up to him.
Over the past few years, Trent Baalke had full roster control. That covered the 90-man roster, but by all accounts it covered the 53-man roster as well. In splitting up these duties between Lynch and Shanahan, I can see how it requires more communication and partnership between the two men. Even if Lynch or Shanahan had full control there should still be significant communication, but in this case it is required even more so. Shanahan will have very specific things he is looking for on his 53- and 46-man rosters.
I imagine the offseason is going to feature regular meetings between the two men, and the rest of the coaching staff. I have no idea how effective they will be in securing the proper talent, but they are hopefully off on the right foot in creating a strong collaboration, a partnership.
Here’s what Lynch had to say when asked about what he is in charge of and what his say is with the roster decisions:
“I think a lot of those things are specifics that we’ve got to get to the point where the final strokes, I would say, as we get our head coach in order and all of those things. I can tell you that from the outset, what has been communicated to me is that we really want this to be a true partnership. Jed’s communicated that. Paraag has communicated that. That’s my wish. One of the great things, and I spoke earlier, and this doesn’t ensure you success, but I can tell you, one thing from being a broadcaster, you get invited into people’s buildings and like I said, this wasn’t like I’m sitting in there taking notes, stealing institutional knowledge. But, you do sit down with head coaches. You talk with management in the places you are. And I think the one common denominator that I’ve seen when I talk to folks, in places where they have successful cultures and results, everyone’s working in the same direction. In places that are inconsistent or are consistently poor franchises, you can see it because you can feel it because people from one side are coming up and saying, “Hey, if I had any players, we could get this thing going.” Management is saying, “Hey, if we had some guys coaching these guys.” That’s not what we’re going to be. We’re going to strive to create a culture where everyone’s working together. I think that’s one of my strengths. It’s something that I’ve done throughout my career is I’ve had an ability to bring people together. I’ve been out front oftentimes. I’ve been named captain. On a broadcast crew, you’re out front and I think that’s a strength of mine and whoever this head coach is going to be, that will be something that we all understand, that we’re likeminded in our pursuit of winning a championship. Also, making a real positive impact in the community in which we play. Making our fans proud is something that we’re going to be all about.”