Kirk Cousins praises 49ers for hiring Lynch, calls Shanahan 'offensive genius'

Kirk Cousins praises 49ers for hiring Lynch, calls Shanahan 'offensive genius'

Kirk Cousins earned just under $20 million last season under the franchise tag.

He is scheduled to become a free agent, but Washington has the ability to tag him again.

New 49ers general manager John Lynch has praised Cousins in the past, and the quarterback returned the favor on Thursday morning.

"John's a smart guy," Cousins said on KNBR 680. "He's been around this league a long time. He knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl. He's done it. Been on a couple really good organizations ... down the road, they may have as sharp a guy and as experienced a guy as you can find.

"And a class act at that. I think it was a good hire and credit the 49ers for going outside the box and doing something different, and not just getting stuck in a rut of the same old thing."

When Cousins hears his name linked to the 49ers, how does that feel?

[MAIOCCO: Kyle Shanahan: 'I'll have no regrets about this Super Bowl']

"I'll tell ya -- it's good to be wanted," Cousins answered. "So hopefully down the road, there will be people wanting me. So, we'll see how it all plays out. The unique thing with the franchise tag is if the (Washington team) chooses to place that on me, then I'm pretty much off the market.

"So we'll see what they choose to do come March 1 and the ball's in their court along those lines. Based on that, I'll react accordingly."

Cousins threw for 4917 yards in 2016 and amassed 29 touchdowns (25 passing and four rushing) against 12 interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl.

In 2012 and 2013, the 2012 fourth-round pick played under presumptive 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"I've always been a big fan of Kyle's," Cousins said. "I've always spoken very highly of him from the day I was picked. And he called me right after the draft and preached belief in me and encouragement ... I loved his system right away and saw it successfuly run with Robert Griffin. I've seen it now run successfully with Matt Ryan.

"Kyle adapts his scheme to the players he has. He's just an offensive genius ... his decisions over time have proven to be right. I'm a big fan of his -- always will be."

Is Cousins open to playing on the West Coast?

"From the day I left college and entered the draft, you have an open mind," Cousins said. "You're gonna go where the job takes you and see how far this game can go before you hang it up.

"I have an open mind. My wife, even more importantly, has an open mind. She's ready to do whatever it takes. We both love Washington but we're ready to do whatever it takes."

The 49ers are scheduled to play at Washington next season.

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman believes he has a lot of good football ahead of him.

But he knows he is not coming to the 49ers after seven seasons with the rival Seattle Seahawks just for how he fits into defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. The 49ers signed Sherman to a three-year contract on March 10 -- one day after the Seahawks released him.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, views his job description as being a major influence and contributor to the 49ers on and off the field.

“I think it’s probably 50-50,” Sherman said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, I’m going to be asked to play at a high level, and that’s what I expect from myself and that’s what I expect to bring to this team. But outside of that, I think I bring an aspect of culture and a winning mentality.”

Sherman is a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time first-team All-Pro. He said the commitment to winning is all-consuming. It is a mindset he helps to share with his new teammates.

“It’s about waking up and doing things that will contribute to winning later, whether it’s your diet, your sleep habits, how you treat your teammates, how you converse,” Sherman said. “Do you go out tonight or do you stay in and get some extra studying? What are you doing to help us win the game on Sunday? Just that mentality will help a lot of these people.”

There might be no young player on the 49ers in need of a good role model more than Reuben Foster, who is set to enter his second NFL season. Foster was arrested this offseason for possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, he was arrested in Los Gatos for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has yet been reached whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster.

Sherman said he has not spoken to Foster but he will be willing to be a mentor to Foster and provide him with support. Sherman said he has heard a lot of great things about Foster.

“If I can help him, I’ll do my best,” Sherman said. “I look forward to meeting him and being a teammate of his, and helping him in any way I can. To think I can change everything he does, I’d be foolish to say I could. But am I going to try my best to help him and put him in positions to be more successful in the future? Yes, I am.”