While they aren’t the best front-office combination, the 49ers’ brain trust of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan finish notably high in NFL.com’s GM power rankings.
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York took a massive gamble in the 2017 offseason.
In the wake of a 2-14 campaign the year before, York hired a first-time head coach in Kyle Shanahan and grabbed a former player and TV personality, John Lynch, to become the franchise’s general manager.
It would have been understandable if there had been skepticism.
Entering 2023, that duo of Shanahan and Lynch have taken the Niners to two consecutive NFC Championship games and made it to a Super Bowl at the end of the 2019 season. While there have been some bumps and mistakes along the way, it’s safe to say York found his combination.
Now, there are those who’ll argue that Shanahan calls all the shots behind the scenes, while Lynch is a front-facing media type who helps shed a positive light on the organization but doesn’t make personnel decisions.
Maybe. But the cold fact is that the formula is working, and San Francisco is a powerhouse Super Bowl contender.
No wonder NFL.com thinks highly of this front-office duo and said as much in power ranking all 32 teams’ general managers.
NFL.com puts 49ers combo of John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan in top 5 of GM power rankings
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal put together an intriguing ranking of all 32 teams’ general managers or GM combos or head coaches assuming those duties… like the New England Patriots‘ Bill Belichick, who finished 11th and is widely viewed as a better head coach than general manager.
As for the 49ers’ tandem of Lynch and Shanahan? They rank fifth.
Here’s what Rosenthal had to say about it:
"The 49ers deserve more credit for finding and maintaining so much talent everywhere else that they’ve thrived despite all the resources used (including first-round picks in 2022 and ’23) in the 2021 trade up to draft Trey Lance, who has attempted 102 passes since. Lynch has helped find core pieces through the draft (receiver Brandon Aiyuk, safety Talanoa Hufanga), free agency (corner Charvarius Ward, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave) and trades (running back Christian McCaffrey, left tackle Trent Williams)."
Related Story: Kyle Shanahan jumps into top-5 ranking of head coaches
Sounds like Rosenthal isn’t enthusiastic about the Niners’ seemingly endless search for a franchise quarterback, but the powerhouse nature of the team remains anyway.
One can only imagine how successful San Francisco would have been if it boasted a top-five quarterback over the last few years.
Still, being at No. 5 isn’t bad for Shanahan and Lynch.
And, because you’re wondering, Denver Broncos GM George Paton came in last place at 25th with those behind him being too new to evaluate.
The four above Lynch and Shanahan were as follows:
- Howie Roseman, Eagles
- Brett Veach, Chiefs
- Duke Tobin, Cincinnati Bengals
- Brandon Beane/Sean McDermott, Bills