Every time a team changes coaches, there’s talk about developing a new culture.
When the 49ers hired first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch in 2017, the six-year contracts they doled out were a sign the 49ers were serious this time.
Now, in the aftermath of a dominant NFC Championship Game win, they want to make sure to hang onto what has been built.
49ers CEO Jed York told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group that he’d be willing to extend Shanahan and Lynch’s deals if necessary.
“I want those guys here for a long time,” York said. “If they want to do something, I’d be happy to do it.”
Any such deal would need to include a raise, after they turned around a team which won four games last year. But York cited the work Shanahan and Lynch did in putting things back together after a period in which one of the league’s storied franchises had grown fractious.
“Those guys do have each other’s back,” York said. “Not that it’s been perfect. Not that we’ve made every single right decision.
“But when the culture is right, when you have each other’s back, it gives you a chance. You need some level of talent, which we have on this team, but if you don’t have the culture, you have no chance.”
Going through the ugly transitions of Jim Harbaugh to Jim Tomsula to Chip Kelly made the 49ers appear anything but stable, but now they have a young core of players (and a quarterback who doesn’t take up all the money), so there’s a reasonable chance this success can be sustained.
“I didn’t want them to ever feel the third year was the ‘hot seat’ year, because we had not done well up to that point,” York said. “You had a run before with Jim and Trent [Baalke], and some really good football teams, and we needed to make sure they knew, the players knew, the fans knew that there was no hot seat for those guys.
“They have a runway and I believe in them to rebuild this culture, and they did.”
That patient approach worked for the 49ers this time, so there’s no reason not to want to keep it going.