Report: Dan Snyder had petty reason for nixing 49ers-Cousins trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The reason? According to former Washington head coach Jay Gruden, it came down to the soured relationship between former team owner Dan Snyder and the Shanahans.
"They [Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen] didn't like the Shanahan's and they didn't want to give Kirk to them," Gruden said in a recent appearance on 106.7 The Fan.
Gruden then confirmed the elder Shanahan's statements about the 49ers' efforts to land Cousins in the spring of 2017.
"I won't say who contacted me, but I was contacted by someone over there who told me they were very interested," Gruden said. "He was getting ready to go on his second franchise tag, and I know they wanted him. 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."
Washington drafted Cousins in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft when Mike and Kyle were the head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively.
Based on the market value for quarterbacks of Cousins' caliber, Gruden is confident that Washington could have gotten the No. 2 overall pick and then some from San Francisco.
"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 added. "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."
After having Cousins become the first quarterback in NFL history to be franchise-tagged in consecutive years, Washington let him walk following the 2017 season.
Cousins then signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent before the 2018 season, returning just a compensatory third-round pick to Washington less than a year after not accepting the offer from the 49ers.
"It's a shame," Gruden said. "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. A conditional third-rounder? The way to handle that is to maximize your return."
Since leaving Washington, Cousins has thrown for 21,642 yards and 159 touchdowns while being named to three Pro Bowls.
After the 49ers failed to land Cousins, they eventually struck a deal with the New England Patriots just prior to the 2017 trade deadline that sent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the Bay in exchange for a second-round pick.