During the 49ers’ dynasty of the 80s and 90s under Eddie DeBartolo, team officials often talked about the 49er Family. While most teams generally treat players like commodities rather than human beings, there are rare examples of teams doing right by their employees. On today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Javier Vega wondered if the 49ers being one of those examples helps explain what’s happening with Jimmy Garoppolo.
“I think part of this also - the optics of it. Jimmy Garoppolo is dealing with a shoulder surgery. Should the 49ers cut him? I think they should. Will they? Probably not. Why? They have an imagine to maintain as well. They want to continue to do right by the players that are on their roster.
Dee Ford should have been gone a long time ago. He’s still here. Brock Coyle was released, but they still paid him. They took care of him. They tried to help facilitate other trades with players. They honored NaVorro Bowman’s request. They take care of their players as they leave.
I think it’s the same with Jimmy Garoppolo. I don’t think that they owe that to Jimmy, but it’s just kind of how they operate...I think this is where having John Lynch the player as a general manager as comes into effect here.”
I’m sure Lynch has seen plenty of cold, calculating moves by NFL franchises during his Hall of Fame career. It does seem like both he and Kyle Shanahan, who grew up in the NFL, treat their players with more respect than most teams.
During this regime, multiple players have talked glowingly about the 49ers organization, which isn’t usually the norm for a team with a losing record over the last half-decade. Besides simply being a decent thing to do, there is a tactical value to that as well - particularly in player acquisition. Players talk to each other, and that kind of reputation can give a team an advantage when a player (or coach) is deciding where they want to work.
Does it explain everything about the situation? No, but it’s one ingredient in the stew of decision-making that seems to be more important to the 49ers than it does to other organizations.