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Shanahan talks pursuit of Stafford, learning of Rams' trade

Bears Insider
Matthew Stafford

The 49ers' offseason was filled with quarterback rumors from the minute the season ended all the way until the moment San Francisco turned in the card to draft Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick.

Matthew Stafford was among the quarterbacks mentioned as a potential 49ers target, but the Los Angeles Rams swooped in and secured a trade for the veteran QB before the 49ers had a chance to get out of the starting blocks. Kyle Shanahan discussed the 49ers' pursuit of Stafford and the frustration he felt seeing the division rival Rams nab him on the latest episode of The Ringer's "Flying Coach" podcast.

"You don't want to get me started, dude," Shanahan told Rams coach Sean McVay and Peter Schrager. "That was frustrating. I was in Cabo. I was studying it all. ... I remember looking through it because everybody was telling me it was a possibility. Stafford's the man. I studied him hard coming out of college, and you always play against him, so you know how good he is. But to know he might be available and to spend two weeks really watching him, Sean, yeah, he's better than I realized.

"He was the man. He's actually underrated to me. I know how good of a guy you got. I know how good he is at play action. I know how smart he is. Not only does he just have a big arm, but he's got touch, he knows where to go with the ball. So I was trying to get involved in it."


But before Shanahan and the 49ers could get deep into talks with the Detroit Lions, the Rams secured a deal for Stafford, sending Jared Goff, first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 as well as a third-round pick in 2021 to Detroit for Stafford.

Shanahan revealed that he thought he had more time to construct a deal and was a little shocked at how quickly things came together for the Rams.

"I remember Saturday I was so stressed out and finally we talked to someone, it was 7 at night, and they're like, 'No, nothing's happening at the earliest until tomorrow, so you can finish your night.' So I'm like, alright, I'm done. I put my phone down, talk to Mandy. I'm like, alright, 'Let's go out to dinner, let's have some drinks.' Half an hour later, my buddy calls me and is like, 'I'm just telling ya, if you want Stafford, you need to get a hold of him right now.' I'm like, 'What do you mean? We just talked to people. I can sleep on this. We'll talk to them tomorrow.' 'I'm just telling you, you need to talk to him right now.' And then it was all over."

In the end, the 49ers ended up making a massive move up the 2021 NFL Draft board, trading first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 along with a third-round pick in 2022 to the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 3 and select Lance.

RELATED: McVay thought 49ers might draft Pitts at No. 3

While Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to remain the 49ers' starting quarterback this season, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch decided to take control of their destiny and make sure they had the signal-caller they believe is best suited to pilot their offense and can lead them to multiple Super Bowls.

That road won't be easy, though, especially with McVay and Stafford standing in the way twice a year for the foreseeable future. Shanahan clearly knows how talented Stafford is and the type of damage he can do in McVay's offense.

Both the Rams and the 49ers took different roads toward the same goal. Only time will tell which one made the better move.

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