Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Florio sees “dysfunction” in 49ers’ offseason plan, calls it “a mess”

Jun 14, 2021 at 3:46 PM--

"Dysfunction" is a word that is often used for a sports organization that is a perennial loser. In the past, it's a word that we've heard associated with teams like the Cleveland Browns. So to hear it used to describe the current San Francisco 49ers might be a bit surprising. After all, it isn't that long ago that they represented the NFC in the Super Bowl. Of course, that was also Kyle Shanahan's lone winning season during his four years as head coach.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has no problem using it to describe the offseason by the 49ers, who traded multiple first-round picks and another selection to move up to the No. 3 spot to select quarterback Trey Lance of North Dakota State.

Said Florio during a Pro Football Talk video segment: "I keep going back to the common denominator for the dysfunction in Green Bay, the dysfunction in San Francisco, the dysfunction with the Rams where they dumped Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford, the dysfunction with the Seahawks. It all traces back to Tom Brady."

The Packers have a disgruntled quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. The Seahawks had a strange situation with a frustrated Russell Wilson. Florio believes each situation was influenced by Tom Brady going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and winning a Super Bowl in his first season there. Obviously, San Francisco could have brought him in. Now, Florio feels that teams are scrambling to bolster their top quarterback spots.

So why does Florio view San Francisco trading up as a sign of dysfunction? He believes that trading up to No. 3 without knowing exactly who you want to draft at that spot shows a lack of forethought. However, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have expressed that Lance was always the favorite heading into the late-March trade. In fact, Shanahan fell in love with the quarterback in January, shortly after starting to watch Lance's college film.

The perception that San Francisco didn't know who it wanted to draft had a lot to do with the 49ers being so secretive even after the trade. With the Nos. 1 and 2 selections being near-locks, the belief was that there was little reason for that secrecy. There was also no benefit for Shanahan or Lynch to offer any hints, and it certainly made for an interesting talking point for the month leading to the draft. The sports networks are probably appreciative of the secrecy in Santa Clara.

"We've been very high on Trey since the beginning, since day one," Shanahan admitted after the draft selection.

Shanahan and Lynch were even secretive with their own personnel, who didn't know the selection until it was announced on the broadcast of the draft.

"We do that because you don't want to sway people in this building," Shanahan explained. "You want everyone to give you, just work their butts off and give you their honest info, and that's why we don't share at all how we felt about our conversations when we were on vacation talking in the first two weeks of January about these quarterbacks and comparing them to NFL guys. When we made the trade, we knew exactly where we were going and what we were doing."

Florio feels that the 49ers could have stayed at No. 12 and still acquired Lance or Mac Jones. He is adamant that one of those quarterbacks would have been there. Of course, there is no guarantee of that.

Shanahan didn't want to risk missing out on Lance. But more important, he didn't want to risk being left without any of their top options. Also, moving to No. 3, knowing that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson would likely go Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, meant the 49ers didn't need to hide doing their due diligence on all of the top quarterbacks.

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"You're paying a premium just to be in position where you have the luxury of evaluating Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones," Florio said. "That's a lot to give up, and I just don't know whether they didn't think this through or whether they just got freaked out by passing on Patrick Mahomes, passing on Tom Brady when he wanted to come play for the 49ers last year, and they just wanted to be done with this. The whole thing is odd to me."

Florio adds that the situation with Garoppolo creates an even bigger mess. The team held onto the veteran even after drafting his eventual successor. What if Garoppolo plays well this season? What does San Francisco do then? While Shanahan calls that a good problem to have, Florio sees it differently.

Said Florio: "It just feels like this is a mess that's got a chance to become a huge mess for the 49ers. It's as unique as what's going on with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in that I don't think we've ever seen anything like this before."

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