The 49ers have hired Hall of Fame finalist John Lynch as their next general manager on a six-year deal with an amount yet to be disclosed, the team announced on Sunday.
The hiring materialized following weeks of courtship. Sources informed of the situation said that the contract length will be the same as that of Kyle Shanahan who is expected to be officially named as their head coach sometime soon.
Lynch was twice named as First Team All-Pro and went to nine Pro Bowls. He retired in 2008 after spending 15 seasons with the Buccaneers and Broncos as a safety. San Francisco was considering assistant GM George Paton of Minnesota and Arizona’s vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough before the hiring was made. The team fired GM Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly following a tumultuous 2-14 season.
The 45-year-old, who is currently a FOX Sports NFL analyst, has never held an NFL front office position. The move shows some comparison with the Broncos’ hiring of John Elway as their general manager in 2011, although he finished his stint with an Arena Football League team for a few years before taking the job. Lynch has been with Fox Sports since 2008.
The newly hired GM seems to have an advantage, as he is able to travel every week and spend days in meetings with team personnel as part of his job with Fox. This weekly grind gave him a load of insights as to how the league’s operations work successfully from an organization stand point.
But that doesn’t mean his job in the offing will come without hurdles. Former Lions president and CEO Matt Millen had a similar transition after his stint as a TV analyst. He was dismissed in 2008, carrying the only 0-16 season in NFL history. The 49ers can only hope that their fortunes would be different with John Lynch at the helm as they are trying to bounce back from a disappointing season.