Do they also have their eyes on the next franchise quarterback?
According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, "don't be surprised if the 49ers make a run at Kirk Cousins if the Redskins do not make him their exclusive franchise player." Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington for three seasons (2010-13) and, according to Rapoport, was "integral" in the selection of Cousins in the draft.
The connections make a lot of sense, similar to lines being drawn this offseason between Browns head coach Hue Jackson and potentially soon-to-be-traded quarterback AJ McCarron. Cousins knows Shanahan's system and, depending on what happens to Tony Romo, would be the best quarterback prospect to hit the open market since Peyton Manning became a free agent in 2012.
Cousins threw for 9,083 yards, 54 touchdowns and just 23 interceptions over his last two seasons. In that time, the Redskins went 17-14-1. He's completed nearly 70 percent of his passes; an incredibly high total on par with some of the game's best quarterbacks.
While Shanahan's father, Mike Shanahan, is not expected to join the 49ers in a personnel role, as Mike Silver reported on NFL GameDay Morning, Kyle will have a heavy hand in finding his quarterback -- something the new general manager needs to understand.
Shanahan has had success with different types of quarterbacks, from Ryan to Robert Griffin III to Brian Hoyer, but will want to eliminate any margin for error when he finally takes over his own team. As Chip Kelly found out a season ago, the duo of Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert is a relative death sentence for a head coach.
Obviously this is in the early stages. There are still plenty of obstacles in the way of a Cousins-Shanahan reunion, including the possibility that Washington gives Cousins a slight raise and opts to use the franchise tag again next year, forcing San Francisco to not only fork over valuable picks but likely a long-term deal on the back end. Thanks to the initial franchise tag Cousins signed this past offseason, he likely views the $20-$24 million range as the floor of any long-term deal. It's not going to come cheap, but is having a knowledgeable quarterback on Day 1 worth the price?