The San Francisco 49ers hired an inexperienced person to be general manager when they decided on John Lynch. He played and then worked in the media, but his experience in personnel evaluation was limited almost entirely to his work as a broadcaster.
In having such an inexperienced person as general manager, his support staff is going to be critical. His first hire was Denver Broncos director of college scouting Adam Peters. Lynch hired him to be his Vice President of Player Personnel. The specifics of his role are not entirely clear, but his former boss offered up a hint at what Peters would be doing with the role.
49ers beat writer Eric Branch had a chance to speak with John Elway this week. Elway serves as Broncos GM, and had plenty to say about John Lynch and Adam Peters. Lynch was friends with Elway, and worked with him to some extent as the Broncos preseason TV analyst. Peters joined the Broncos in 2009, two seasons before John Elway joined the front office.
Peters was under contract with the Broncos, and because his role would not have control over the 53-man roster, the Broncos could have blocked any interview. Branch asked Elway if the Broncos would have let Peters out of his contract for any other team, and Elway said “probably not.” His comments hinted at a significant role for Peters in Santa Clara:
“He’s very good at what he does and I hate losing him. But I also know that it’s a great opportunity for him as far as the responsibilities that he was going to gain in San Francisco. But also I know that he’s going to be able to go and help John.
“If it was anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have. But I know it’s a great opportunity for Adam and he’ll be a tremendous help to John.”
The 49ers hired Mike Nolan back in 2005 to be head coach and general manager, and his first hire was Scot McCloughan. He hired McCloughan to serve in the same role as Vice President of Player Personnel. Nolan had the proverbial trigger, but McCloughan was plenty active on a day-to-day basis.
Lynch and new head coach Kyle Shanahan have the final say on roster decisions, but my guess is Peters will be the guy doing a lot of the day-to-day GM work. That’s not to say John Lynch will be a figure-head or anything like that. Rather Peters is the experienced guy that knows a lot of the things Lynch still has to learn.
There is some thought that Peters could get his own GM job sooner rather than later. At the very least, this provides Lynch an experienced person from whom to learn, and at least a year or two to get a better handle on some of the day-to-day intricacies of running a football operations department.