The 49ers on Sunday hired former NFL star safety John Lynch as general manager, a source confirmed to CSNBayArea.com on Sunday night.
The team announced the hiring of Lynch at 7 p.m.
Lynch, 45, was hired to cap a weekend that saw presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, meet with known finalists George Paton and Terry McDonough. The hiring of Lynch is a surprise move. Lynch has been an NFL analyst for FOX. He worked the Falcons' 36-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional found of the NFC playoffs and was effusive in his praise of Shanahan.
Lynch and Shanahan will each receive a six-year contracts from the 49ers, a source said. The 49ers' two previous head coaches, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, received four-year contracts. Jim Harbaugh was hired in 2011 on a five-year deal.
Lynch spent Thursday night at the Bay Area home of CEO Jed York on Thursday night before traveling together to Atlanta to meet up with Shanahan. A week earlier, Lynch called Shanahan to offer his services for the GM position, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Lynch, who played football at Stanford under legendary 49ers coach Bill Walsh, is also one of 15 modern-day finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which will be voted on Saturday in Houston.
Shortly after the 49ers concluded the season with a 2-14 season, that included a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak, York announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.
Shanahan was closely involved in the process to hire the team’s general manager. The 49ers interviewed nine other candidates for the job that the team disclosed. CSNBayArea.com reported Sunday there was a mystery candidate, believed to be ESPN analyst Mark Dominik. While a source said the 49ers discussed Dominik, he did not receiver a formal interview.
Paton, Minnesota's assistant general manager, and McDonough, Arizona's vice president of player personnel, were the announced finalists for the job, while Lynch wished to keep his candidacy for the position a secret, a source said.
Among the topics Shanahan covered with the general manager candidates was how the 49ers’ personnel power would be handled, both contractually and functionally, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan has not insisted on control over personnel but he wants to be involved in the decision-making process, a source said.
Now with Lynch, who has no experience working in an NFL front office, Shanahan is expected to wield more power into personnel than he would have if the 49ers had hired an experienced NFL executive for the job.
The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan as head coach until after the Falcons finish their season in Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots on Feb. 5 in Houston.
Lynch played the final four seasons of his NFL career with the Denver Broncos under Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan. Lynch played the first 11 seasons of his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a third-round draft pick in 1993.
Lynch was selected to the Pro Bowl nine times in his career. He finished his career with 26 interceptions.
Lynch was drafted to play for the Florida Marlins and in the early 1990s was considering leaving the Stanford football program to pursue a baseball career. But Walsh talked Lynch into continuing to play football after he transitioned from quarterback to safety.
“I’ll never forget the day Coach Walsh called me into his office,” Lynch told the Stanford Daily in 2013. “Bill saw something in me. He called me in that day and said, ‘Look, I understand you got a great opportunity with the Marlins, but I think you can play in the NFL and not only can you play, but you can be a Pro Bowl player. He sold me on coming back, and I did, and the rest is history.”