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Shanahan: ‘We went pretty hard. We went real hard [after Khalil Mack]’

The San Francisco 49ers have not been shy about acknowledging their interest in notable trade candidates. After Khalil Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears, general manager John Lynch said the team had gone in aggressively but with some parameters. On Friday, Lynch said the team had looked into wide receiver Josh Gordon, but the coaching staff’s history with Gordon made them decide it was not worth the cost.

On Friday afternoon, head coach Kyle Shanahan followed up on Lynch’s previous comments about Khalil Mack. He said, “We went pretty hard. We went real hard.” He was asked about setting an aggressive mindset, and acknowledged that is the tone they want to set.

“Yeah, of course. When you’re talking about people who are extreme difference makers, you do everything you can to try to add those type of guys to your team, especially when it came to the first guy you mentioned with the pass rush and everything. Those are legit things that I hope everyone in the league would look into hard. Then, you’ve got to think about salary cap. Thinking about how you’re going to balance contracts, what that means not just right now, but what it means next year, who you can re-sign next year, who you have to lose, how you’re going to spend the draft next year. There’s so many more things that go into it than just, ‘Is that guy a good player or not?’”

The Bears landed Mack in a deal that saw them send first round picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020, and a sixth-round pick in 2019 to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for Mack, a second-round pick in 2020, and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2020. The deal also included Mack signing a six-year contract extension worth $141 million.

The 49ers had more cap space than the Bears, but Chicago also has the guy they hope is their franchise quarterback under his rookie deal. Add in a chance to take a good defense and potentially (as proven since) turn it into a great one, it all added up for the Bears.

I don’t know how the 49ers view the potential of having a record-breaking quarterback contract, and then in the same year following up with a record-breaking defensive contract. The 49ers will hopefully eventually be extending DeForest Buckner to a record-breaking contract extension in the next two or three years. I imagine that played some part in the decision to not push harder on Mack.

It is also worth noting that it is possible the Raiders simply had no interest in dealing Mack to the 49ers outside of a true Godfather offer. The Raiders will be sharing the Bay Area with the 49ers for this season and probably next season. Add in leaving for Las Vegas and in turn leaving Mack here with the 49ers, and I would not be surprised if it simply was not going to happen outside of an offer that would have been crazy to make.

We’ll likely never know for sure all that went down in any calls the 49ers made to the Raiders. Some will call [site decorum] and say the 49ers are not being aggressive enough, and they’re entitled to their opinion. I would have loved to seen Mack added to this defense, but hey, such is life.