49ers rumors: Kyle Shanahan tried trading 2nd overall draft pick (and more) for Kirk Cousins

Yes, another article about just how much Kyle Shanahan loves Kirk Cousins.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (L) and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (R)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (L) and San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan (R) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

It's no secret how much Kyle Shanahan wanted Kirk Cousins on the 49ers, and apparently, that want was quantified with a No. 3 overall draft pick and then some.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan seems on an endless quest to somehow find a way to land one of his proteges, now-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was coached up by Shanahan when both were with the Washington Redskins prior to 2014.

Ever since Shanahan landed with the Niners in 2017, rumors and speculation have linked the coach and signal-caller, and that's not likely going to change anytime soon.

Particularly with the likelihood of Cousins not returning to Minnesota in 2024 when he hits free agency.

Back in Shanahan's first year, though, it appears as if Cousins was a primary target for San Francisco, which was coming off a 2-14 season the year before and held the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

According to recent rumors and reports, Shanahan was willing to use that as a trade chip to get his quarterback.

Kyle Shanahan was willing to send 49ers' top pick in 2017 (and more) to Washington for Kirk Cousins

Earlier this week, Shanahan's father and former Redskins head coach, Mike Shanahan, told The Athletic (h/t Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports) that his son was willing to trade off that No. 2 overall pick to Washington in exchange for Cousins.

By that point, however, then-Redskins owner Dan Snyder still held grudges against both Shanahans, and it appears as if that wasn't receeding during the spring of 2017.

"(Kyle) knew Kirk knew his system, and he knew the type of guy Kirk was," Mike Shanahan said. "But (Washington) wouldn't even return the phone call."

Instead, the 49ers traded down one spot and selected defensive end Solomon Thomas out of Stanford at No. 3 overall, and then they traded away a 2018 second-round pick to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and he would be Shanahan's primary guy for the next five-plus seasons.

However, even more rumors state it wasn't just a No. 2 overall pick the Niners were willing to dish out for Cousins.

According to former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, speaking to the media later in the week (h/t 49ers Webzone), San Francisco was willing to offer up a package that included the No. 2 overall pick and then some:

"I won't say who contacted me, but I was contacted by someone [in San Francisco] who told me they were very interested. "[Kirk Cousins] was getting ready to go on his second franchise tag, and I know they wanted him. The Shanahans love Kirk and he loves them, and I don't blame them; they brought him in here and taught him some good ball, and we were fortunate to keep Kirk and work with him.""

Related story: Why 49ers rumors about Kirk Cousins simply won't go away

It went nowhere, though. Washington ultimately let Cousins walk, and he subsequently joined the Vikings on a lucrative free-agent deal.

The Niners, meanwhile, tried developing another top-drafted quarterback in Trey Lance but failed, ultimately going with their current starter, Brock Purdy, who may or may not have some Cousins-like tendencies.

We'll let the younger Shanahan decide that, though.

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