San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch dropped a bombshell during an interview on ESPN Radio last week, revealing that quarterback Kirk Cousins was indeed part of head coach Kyle Shanahan's "master plan" for the 49ers' rebuilding process. The bombshell wasn't that Shanahan desired Cousins to be part of his offense, but that the 49ers would openly admit it.

The team always intended to prepare the roster for the eventual acquisition of the former Washington Redskins quarterback, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings this month. That plan changed when the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, who went on to start the team's final five games of the season and win each of them. Garoppolo's audition convinced Shanahan to move on from a potential reunion with Cousins, and the 49ers gave their new quarterback a five-year deal worth up to $137.5 million.

Even after the trade, Garoppolo needed to prove himself to Shanahan.

"We made the trade, but then there were some days that Kyle Shanahan was like in mourning because I think everybody knows his master plan was to have Kirk Cousins come in eventually," Lynch said. "I was proud of Kyle because I think he knew this was the right thing for our franchise and he didn't hesitate."

"But even then, Jimmy had to really prove himself. Kyle, I think, was really smart. He didn't play him right away. He waited until he had some semblance of an understanding of our scheme. When he did put him in, he put him in a position to succeed. And then I would tell you that Jimmy really impressed Kyle to the point where he said, 'This is our guy.'"

On Tuesday, Shanahan had an opportunity to comment on Cousins being his top target in the rebuilding process.

"Everybody knows that. That was the plan," Shanahan said via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. "I had a good relationship with him. He was a good quarterback that I'd been with."

Even after the trade, Shanahan was not yet 100 percent committed to Garoppolo as the 49ers' franchise quarterback. Things changed by the end of the season.

"After we made that trade (for Garoppolo), we knew we'd be in position to have a really good quarterback," Shanahan continued. "One, we just traded for a talented one. Two, we knew there's going to be a good one available in free agency, most likely. And, three, at that time, we hadn't had a win, yet. We were thinking we might have the first pick in the draft. We were evaluating all these things and taking them all into account.

"The neat story about it all was how well (Garoppolo) played and how big of an effect he had on our building and how well he did on the field."

In five starts and six game appearances with the 49ers last season, Garoppolo completed 120-of-178 pass attempts for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns, five interceptions, a passer rating of 96.2, and even had a rushing touchdown.

After guiding the 49ers to a 6-10 finish following a 1-10 start, the quest for Cousins was over. Garoppolo was the 49ers' guy.