It was a big Thursday for Grant Paulsen – with Danny Rouhier out, he was joined by none other than JAY GRUDEN for their weekly broadcast at Rudy’s Golf in Alexandria.
And, hours before Kirk Cousins took the prime time stage on Thursday Night Football, we got a big admission: Gruden confirmed that indeed, the San Francisco 49ers did want Kirk, and intimated the Niners would’ve given up MORE than that 2017 No. 2 overall pick that Mike Shanahan had mentioned in discussing the situation last week.
“I won’t say who contacted me, but I was contacted by someone over there who told me they were very interested. He was getting ready to go on his second franchise tag, and I know they wanted him,” Gruden said. “The Shanahans love Kirk and he loves them, and I don’t blame them; they brought him in here and taught him some good ball, and we were fortunate to keep Kirk and work with him.”
The trade never happened, Cousins left for Minnesota soon after, and, well…Gruden is STILL salty years later.
“They would’ve given up way more than that (pick) – you’re talking about a $150 million quarterback, you’re going to get two ones and a player, or two ones and a two,” Gruden said. “You look at all the teams that are struggling, what don’t they have? He had opportunities to go to San Francisco, the Jets, Minnesota – we could’ve traded him and made our team better, instead we got a compensatory third round pick…it makes no sense.”
The reason, Gruden said flatly, is Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen “didn’t like the Shanahans and didn’t want them to get Kirk,” and Grant joked “that’s the right way to run an organization.”
Not a joke to Gruden.
“It’s a shame. We had such a hot commodity, a young talented player with a bright future ahead of him, and we got nothing for him. That’s the worst decision we made as a franchise,” Gruden said. “A conditional third rounder? The way to handle that is to maximize your return.”
And, as Grant noted, they used that conditional third-round pick to deal for Alex Smith, who could’ve been had as a free agent, so “it was a wash” in Grant’s eyes and “dumb” in Gruden’s.
Oh, and if you want to do the trade tree, the Niners dealt that No. 2 pick in 2017 to Chicago for No. 3, two later picks, and a 2018 third, and they got Solomon Thomas while a later trade netted Alvin Kamara for New Orleans with one of those picks…yeah.
Take a listen to that entire admission above, starting about 10 minutes into the clip!