The San Francisco 49ers hired John Lynch to become their next general manager, interesting mostly because the former NFL safety has never worked in a front office. Lynch rode his 15-year playing career into the broadcast booth before making the massive leap to running his own team.
How he fares in the big chair could alter future thinking. NFL owners for decades leaned toward candidates who worked in other places or were up-and-comers groomed in successful franchises. Lynch is neither, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s unqualified.
Lynch graduated from Stanford, where he played under legend Bill Walsh. He played six years under Tony Dungy, won a Super Bowl with John Gruden and finished off his career with four seasons under Mike Shanahan. Lynch was known for his intelligence as much as his hard-hitting style.
The guy knows football and brings a fresh set of eyes. The Niners own the second pick in the draft and have $81 million in cap space, giving him flexibility. Can he surround himself with the right people and manage them? Time will tell, but the Niners deserve credit for thinking outside the box.