The San Francisco 49ers put together a draft class this year that features several players that could be viewed with more of the long-game in mind. Eli Harold, Mike Davis and Bradley Pinion could all be notable contributors from day one, but there was a lot of "potential" over "production" with several of the 49ers picks.
The 49ers draft day decisions led to an interesting article from Bay Area Sports Guy titled "Trent Baalke is bulletproof". In the article, Steve took a look at each of the 49ers picks through the sixth round, and concluded the team is happy with a potentially more conservative growth pattern. Although Jed York has repeatedly talked about Super Bowl or bust, this kind of conservative growth would seem to indicate strong job security for Baalke.
York seemed to confirm that to some extent Wednesday afternoon. York made an appearance at VentureScape 2015 talking about the business of sports with Golden State Warriors CEO Joe Lacob, and San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer. It appears Matt Maiocco was on hand for the event, as he transcribed some of York's comments. This included comments about Trent Baalke and his comfort level as general manager:
"You have to make sure your guys feel like they're going to be a part of it for a while," York said. "And with Trent, I watch it when we draft. Trent will always trade for next year's picks because he feels comfortable that he's going to be here.
"And ultimately that's going to make our business much better. And I think that's the nice thing about having a private company. You don't have to worry about the quarterly report. We're looking at how many championships can we win over a period of time. And when everybody understands that and everybody comes together, more often than not, you're going to be happy."
It is not shocking that Trent Baalke would feel some level of comfort following Jim Harbaugh's departure. He is at the top of the food chain as far as football operations go. Whatever happens with Jim Tomsula as head coach, this is Trent Baalke's football team. Of course, Jed York and the rest of the Yorks are above him, so that can change fairly easily.
My guess is Baalke is bullet-proof this year, and then after that things may or may not get a little more interesting. If the 49ers struggle this year while remaining relatively healthy, things get a lot more interesting heading into next year. I think bare minimum, Trent Baalke is going to be around through the 2016 season, when his contract comes to an end. If the 49ers struggle the next two years, all bets are off. If the 49ers turn things around and find success, he gets himself a contract extension.