The 49ers have had their share of ups and downs under John Lynch, but you’d be surprised where NBC Sports ranks him among general managers entering 2022.
It’s fair to say San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has come into his own a bit since taking over the job as something of a surprise hire back in 2017.
The former NFL safety turned television analyst has had his share of challenges and whiffs getting the Niners back to prominence. But, at least when stocked and healthy, San Francisco has emerged as a legitimate Super Bowl threat in two of the last three years.
Of course, a lot of Lynch’s success has been in parallel with head coach Kyle Shanahan, and there are those who’d argue a lot of the dirty work of compiling a roster has fallen on 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters.
Nevertheless, Lynch is surely better than the general manager he replaced, now-Jacksonville Jaguars GM Trent Baalke.
But where should Lynch rank entering the upcoming season?
NBC Sports bullish on John Lynch, pairing with Kyle Shanahan
Patrick Daugherty over at NBC Sports EDGE just compiled a ranking of all 32 teams’ general managers entering 2022, and you might be surprised where Lynch ended up.
No. 5, to be exact.
For a team that’s had three losing seasons out of five, Lynch being tabbed as a top-five general manager is noteworthy.
Yet Daugherty admitted there’s a bit of a conundrum the Niners have had to face:
"Three parts brilliance and one part bafflement. This loaded group was only a quarterback away from reaching the Super Bowl last season. They audaciously traded up to draft said quarterback. Then he didn’t play. There is Shanahan, in the middle of a title window, making what amounted to a luxury pick. There will be no luxury when it comes to Trey Lance in 2022. He has to play, whether Shanny is ready or not. It will be the most fascinating test yet of Shanahan’s football principles."
A lot of the focus was on Shanahan, yes. And perhaps we should understand the head coach is pulling far more strings than Lynch.
But, as San Francisco fans can recall, power struggles between head coaches and executives can be real, and it sure doesn’t appear as if there’s anything major here in this regard between Lynch and Shanahan.
Of note, Daugherty listed the 49ers’ NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams’ general manager, Les Snead, No. 1 on the list.
What does John Lynch have left to prove with 49ers?
Lynch reportedly turned down an offer to return to the television side earlier this offseason, and it’s highly likely he could have made much more money doing that.
So, credit to him for sticking it out with the Niners instead, which also will carry a lot more work over the course of the year.
There’s the obvious goal of securing the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl victory, and few other things will count as much as that objective.
However, both Lynch and Shanahan will forever be tied to Lance and his development, particularly after San Francisco gave up so much to trade up and draft the quarterback in 2021. If Lance turns into a success story, that’ll be a major boost to both Shanahan and Lynch’s legacy.
If not, well, it’ll be a massive blemish.