Dating back to 2006, there have been at least two changes at the top of NFL personnel departments each year. This year, nobody has been fired yet, but odds are good at least one will be replaced when January arrives. San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke would seem to be on the radar, regardless of last night’s Vance McDonald contract extension.
The folks at Inside The Pylon put together a look at the best candidates for general manager each year. They break the list down into several categories, including GMs-in-waiting, circuit trainers, former GMs, new on the scene, and on the scene soon. For those unsure, “circuit trainers” covers those that have interview before and remain on the short list. “GMs-in-waiting” are candidates who have been mentioned in connection with jobs, but have been highly selective in their interviewing.
The GMs-in-waiting list includes Nick Caserio (Patriots director of player personnel, Eric DeCosta (Ravens assistant general manager), Will McClay (Cowboys senior director of college/pro personnel), George Paton (Vikings assistant general manager), Duke Tobin (Bengals director of player personnel), and Eliot Wolf (Packers director of football operations).
Current 49ers assistant general manager Tom Gamble is listed on the circuit-trainer list. They have him down as having had four known interviews dating back to 2012, including the Rams (2012), Jaguars (2013), Jets (2013), and Chargers (2013). He was in personnel with the 49ers from 2005 to 2012, and then joined Chip Kelly in Philadelphia in 2013. He was fired in late 2014 amidst a power struggle, and returned to the 49ers. He was promoted to assistant GM this past offseason.
My prediction remains the same. The most likely outcome of this season is Trent Baalke fired and Tom Gamble promoted. The second most likely outcome seems to be Baalke sticking around. I could easily be wrong and things change significantly, but with rumors that Chip Kelly’s job is safe, Gamble or Baalke seems to most obvious result.