Kyle Shanahan reveals how 49ers lost out on trading for Matthew Stafford

·3-min read

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan wanted his team to acquire Matthew Stafford during the offseason. Shanahan not only confirmed he was "involved" for Stafford, but insinuated the deal was pretty close during an appearance on the Flying Coach podcast.

How close? Well, if Shanahan didn't go out for some drinks with his wife, maybe Stafford would have ended up on the 49ers instead of the Los Angeles Rams. That's what Shanahan told Sean McVay — yes, that Sean McVay — and Peter Schrager on the podcast, at least.

As Shanahan told it, he was in Cabo when the deal went down. He had studied film on Stafford prior to the trade and came away impressed. He told McVay and Schrager that he wanted the 49ers to be "involved" in trade talks.

A few hours before the deal went down, Shanahan got a call saying he was safe to enjoy his night.

"We talked to someone, it was like 7 at night. And they were like, 'No, nothing is happening at the earliest until tomorrow, so you can finish your night.' So I'm like, 'Alright, I'm done.' Put my phone down, talked to Mandy, I'm like, 'Alright, let's go out to dinner, let's have some drinks.'"

A half hour later, Shanahan got another call from a "friend" who told Shanahan if he wanted Stafford, he needed to get in touch with Stafford right now. Shanahan waved that off, saying he just heard he could wait until tomorrow. Shortly after that, he saw the notification that the Rams acquired Stafford.

McVay, whose team made the move to pick up Stafford, told Shanahan the deal came together faster than McVay expected.

Kyle Shanahan missed out on a Matthew Stafford trade.
Kyle Shanahan waited too long to acquire Matthew Stafford. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Matthew Stafford deal may have impacted 49ers draft plans

The Stafford deal went down in January, and may have impacted the 49ers draft plans in a big way. Had the team picked up Stafford, it may not have grabbed Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Stafford is under contract through the 2022 season, so the 49ers may have looked at a more immediate need with their first pick. Perhaps the team would have traded the pick to another club desperate to pick up a quarterback?

That could have created a massive ripple effect around the league. Would Justin Fields still be there for the Chicago Bears at No. 11? Would Bill Belichick make a play for a higher pick so he could take Lance? The hypotheticals are endless.

Ultimately, McVay and the Rams got Stafford. McVay is pretty happy with that outcome. While Shanahan lost out, getting Lance has to be a nice consolation prize. Maybe in a few years, Shanahan will look at that fateful night and decide going out for drinks was one of the best decisions he's ever made?

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