Kyle Shanahan had three years remaining on his contract at the beginning of the week. Now he’s got six.
The 49ers inked their head coach through the 2025 season, and gave him a pay raise just halfway through his original six-year deal signed in 2017. The news raised two questions: Why now, and why didn’t general manager John Lynch also get one? The GM was signed to a six-year deal at the same time as Shanahan after all.
49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco attempted to answer both of those questions with Murph & Mac on Wednesday morning, and explained how a decision by the Cincinnati Bengals played into it.
“The thing was the time was definitely right for him,” Maiocco said. “He had three years left on his deal, but whenever Zach Taylor passes Kyle Shanahan on the list of paid coaches, I think that’s the time you work out a new deal with Kyle Shanahan.”
Taylor was recently hired as the Bengals head coach, despite never serving as a head coach at any level. Though coaches salaries are not publicly disclosed, Taylor’s contract reportedly being one of the highest in the league reset the market.
Taylor was signed in February, and Maiocco said the Shanahan deal was signed a while ago as well. While the Taylor deal put pressure on the 49ers to up Shanahan’s price tag, the same has not been the case for Lynch, who is still one of the highest paid GMs on his current deal.
“During the pandemic the 49ers never wanted to announce it, and I think they were seeing if there was a way to do something with John Lynch as well, because those two guys are tied at the hip,” Maiocco said. “I think they were a little bit concerned of extending one and not the other. My first thought was how can you extend one and not the other? As I looked into the numbers and where things are, Kyle came in not nearly as well paid on the scale of head coaches as Lynch was on the scale of general managers. I think a lot of that had to do with John Lynch leaving a pretty lucrative job at Fox calling games on TV to take this job. So I think the 49ers had to account for that.
“(Lynch’s) salary as far as I can tell still matches up really favorably with NFL general managers, but with Shanahan with the amount of turnover that NFL coaches have, to have a guy like Zach Taylor to pass him on the list, there was an inequity there. The 49ers made it so Kyle Shanahan, depending on what metric you use, you can work the numbers to make him the third highest paid coach, or as low as the sixth. So he kind of falls into that area. When you look at it that’s about right, that’s about where he should be.
“And I don’t think you can give John Lynch a salary bump when he hasn’t won a Super Bowl, but there are some general managers that are coming up on their contract — guys like Mickey Loomis (Saints) and John Schneider (Seahawks) — and I think once the market resets, if the 49ers continue the path they’re going on, John Lynch will get a contract that resets his market and ties Lynch and Shanahan together through that 2025 season.”
Listen to the full interview below.