The San Francisco 49ers hired Adam Peters to serve as their VP of player personnel, two days after John Lynch was announced as the team’s next general manager. There were reports Lynch had identified his potential No. 2, and the quick hiring of Peters supports that.
Peters is a respected personnel executive, but there are still questions about all this. The first is why the Broncos would let him go. John Elway could have blocked the move because it was for a job that did not include full roster control. Teams can block any coach going from a non-head coach coaching role, and they can block any executive going from a position that does not include complete roster control.
When news first broke about Peters getting an interview, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio discussed why the Broncos chose not to block him:
The Broncos, however, ultimately decided not to stand in Peters’ way in order to foster a sense that upward mobility will be rewarded — even if that means losing someone they’d otherwise prefer to keep. (The decision from Broncos G.M. John Elway also may have been fueled by respect for Lynch, along with a realization that Peters will be a hot candidate for General Manager openings sooner than later.)
This leads to the second question. How exactly did Lynch connect with Peters? He identified him quickly as an executive to whom he wanted to give immense power. Given Lynch’s inexperience and the fact that Kyle Shanahan will be plenty busy getting the team ready for the season, the VP of player personnel is going to be one of the most important people in the building. So how exactly did they become acquainted?
In the press release announcing Peters’ hire, John Lynch stated that. “I have known Adam for several years and have great confidence that his drive, work ethic and skill set will be instrumental to the 49ers organization. I know how much John Elway and the Broncos organization value and respect Adam.”
I came across something interesting earlier today, courtesy of 49ers PR director Bob Lange. He tweeted about an MMQB column Peter King wrote last August. It included a segment about Lynch and how he was hustling to San Diego to watch his son play football. It was a cool story, but it also revealed something about which I had completely forgotten. John Lynch has worked as a FOX color analyst, but for the last three preseasons, he has done color work for Broncos preseason games. I vaguely recall him from watching a 49ers-Broncos preseason game on NFL Game Rewind during the preseason.
This makes things a little more clear with regard to the Elway and Peters connections. Lynch played for the Broncos and is in their Ring of Honor, so it is not surprising they would get the FOX analyst to do their preseason games. But this also means he likely spent a lot of time around the Broncos headquarters the past three years.
I imagine he has spent a lot of time talking with Elway, Peters, and plenty of other people in the organization. In doing so, he was able to build relationships. Considering his interest in a front office job, I am guessing he kept an open ear when Elway was talking about how they built their roster. He had to acquire information to prepare for broadcasts, but in hindsight, he could have been preparing for an eventual personnel opportunity.
None of this tells us anything about how John Lynch will work out as a GM. But given how little there is to make of his potential as a GM, every little tidbit adds a little context to the bigger picture.