The San Francisco 49ers had a busy offseason, signing more free agents than they had in the previous three years combined. Some of the contracts were higher than people expected, and that raised some eyebrows. Of course, given the 49ers recent struggles, it is not surprising they might have had to overpay a few guys.
Money talks, but 49ers lead negotiator Paraag Marathe thinks GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were critical in the recruiting process. Marathe spoke at Wednesday’s “State of the Franchise” event, and he talked about what it was like this offseason given the recent struggles. He said agents and players were unsure of the team’s direction the past couple years, but that quickly changed with Lynch and Shanahan on board.
The 49ers have a GM who is inexperienced from an executive standpoint, and a head coach who is in his first HC job. However, it is clear that both bring some significant assets to the table. Lynch acknowledged that they haven’t proven anything yet considering no games have been played. But the process appears to be a solid one, and providing reason for optimism.
Here’s the transcript of Marathe’s comments about the impact Lynch and Shanahan had on free agency.
You know what Tim, I was honestly worried about that too, when I first started making calls. Because the last couple years, folks just, agents and players they were just unsure of the plan. They just didn’t know what direction we were going. And so it was a little bit harder. This year, obviously money talks, but money’s not the only thing. These players only have one career, they have one shot when they pick a new team, they have one shot to get it right and to have a long career making a lot of money somewhere. So, it’s not just about who pays you the most. They’ve gotta make sure they find a coach and a general manager that they believe in, that they feel like they have a plan and they want to get behind. And I gotta tell you, to an agent, every person I talked to was just so fired up about John and Kyle, and for different reasons.
For Kyle, everyone thought and we know now, he’s a football wizard. And he’s so young and yet he has so much experience in the NFL. And he relates to the guys. The players just feel like he’s a player’s coach. And I was actually, frankly surprised, everybody already knew that. And it was encouraging.
And with John, he’s walked in their shoes at the highest of levels, and they know that. They know that he knows what they need to be successful. But the game-changer for us, what really pushed it over the edge, was when John got on the phone with the player during free agency. For me then, it was game over because when they talked to John, as you guys can tell right now, sincerity just oozes out of him. And so he is just such a sincere guy, when the players talk to him, you know what, if they weren’t very good at something, he was gonna crush them. If they were really good at something, he was gonna praise them. But you know what you got when you talk to John, and that got all the players fired up.
And so, I was surprised, and I’ll tell you, just in this offseason workout program that we’ve had, this is something that I hadn’t seen before, and I’ve been here a long time, but we had, of our 60 veterans, 59 of them that have been in the offseason program so far have done over 90 percent of the workouts. So, they’ve all been here. I’m not sure another team in the league can say that with their voluntary offseason program. So that just shows how much they believe in John and Kyle.