The San Francisco 49ers are in turmoil right now, and fans are wondering when we might see some significant change. Well, it could be on the horizon, depending on how much faith you put in Jason La Canfora. The CBS NFL reporter had a big report this weekend in which he said Trent Baalke was likely out, and John and Denise York would take a more hands-on approach to moving things forward for the franchise.
It was all the buzz among 49ers fans, and on Monday, La Canfora went on KNBR to discuss it further. He asked if there was anything new to report, and he said there nothing new. He told them that while final conclusions have not been fully reached, “I continue to hear more and more thought being given to bringing in someone else to run football operations, other than Trent Baalke, and empowering that person with the ability to make recommendations about whether or not the coaching staff should stay.”
He offered some more specifics on what this could mean:
“They would ostensibly hire someone to actually run the football operations on a day-to-day basis. There would be someone there, whether it’s Mike Shanahan or whomever, who may then themselves decide I should be the coach and executive vice president of football operations. But at the very least, there would be someone, a football man, atop the entire personnel pyramid, who would essentially be sort of a team president/head of football ops, who would be making the day-to-day decisions on the way things operate.”
The follow-up to that of course is what happens with Jed York. He has been the face of the organization from much of this decade. He was there to make the change from Singletary to Harbaugh. He was there to get the stadium built. He was there for the “mutual departure” with Harbaugh. If La Canfora’s report turns out to be true, Jed would be removed from football operations.
“Jed would be out, he would be out. He wouldn’t be involved in football operations. I mean you can get cute with titles. You can do whatever you think you have to do. But the premise would be, the top of the pyramid would be this person they bring in, to effectively be running the football operation.“
The biggest concern I had upon hearing this report on Sunday was the comments about Mama and Papa York taking on a more hands-on approach. La Canfora clarified what he meant by that.
“It’d more to shift things away from again Jed being the sort of the face of all things 49ers football. You know what I mean? You would have in the future, in the future, let’s ponder future press conferences. It wouldn’t be Jed and Baalke and the coach. It would be somebody else, and the coach, and the GM.”
It remains to be seen how true this will end up being. La Canfora hits on stuff, but he can also be off at times. Nothing has happened yet, and for now these are just leaks and rumors. We don’t know who told him what, and we don’t know what inferences he has made from what he heard. My guess is this a mix of hearing things first hand, and making some inferences from what he has heard.
Let’s say for argument’s sake that his report does pan out. It is easy to get excited about the idea of finally finding a football person to run everything. Trent Baalke is a football person, but Jed remained at the top of the pyramid, getting involved in interviews and press conferences. It would be much better for the organization to have a football mind running everything, and the Yorks just handle the business side of things.
Whether the role goes to Mike Shanahan or someone else entirely is a discussion for another day in my mind. It’s about baby steps. Just acknowledging the need to hand over football operations entirely is a step in the right direction. If this report proves true, things could still continue going south with a new football administration. But any kind of change right now would be welcome.