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John Lynch: Kyle Shanahan preferred Kirk Cousins over Jimmy Garoppolo

Alex Reimer
March 22, 2018 - 3:02 pm

The 49ers stole Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots, only surrendering a second-round pick to land their next franchise quarterback. But according to 49ers general manager John Lynch, head coach Kyle Shananhan was originally less than enthused.

In an interview on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Trey” Wednesday, Lynch said Shanahan’s master plan was to acquire Kirk Cousins, whom he coached in Washington. 

“We made the trade, but then there were some days when Kyle Shanahan was, like, in mourning, because I think everybody knows his master plan was to have Kirk Cousins come in eventually,” Lynch explained. “I was proud of Kyle, because I think he knew this was the right thing for our franchise. And he didn’t hesitate. But then, even then, Jimmy had to really prove himself.”

That’s exactly what happened. Garoppolo led the 49ers to five straight wins to close out the season, including a victory over the Jaguars. He completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns with a QB rating of 96.2. 

This offseason, San Francisco rewarded Garoppolo with the richest deal in NFL history. It’s apparent Shanahan got on board. 

“Kyle was really smart, he didn’t play him right away, he waited until he had some semblance of an understanding of our scheme before he put him in,” Lynch said. “When he did put him in, he put him in a position to succeed. I would tell you that Jimmy really impressed Kyle to the point where he said, This is our guy.’”

Everything worked out for Cousins as well. He signed a fully guaranteed four-year, $84 million deal with the Vikings earlier this month. 

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