The San Francisco 49ers may or may not fire Trent Baalke when the season comes to an end. We have been hearing speculation, but we will have to wait until probably January 2 for some kind of action.
In the meantime, I came across something interesting via our friends at @49ersHub. Albert Breer posted his most recent MMQB column on Thursday, and in it, he put together his annual general manager short list for 2017. He included some notable names and some lesser known names. It included guys like Nick Caserio (Patriots), Eric DeCosta (Ravens), Scott Fitterer (Seahawks), Brian Gaine (Texans), Brian Gutekunst (Packers), Trent Kirchner (Seahawks), Will McClay (Cowboys), Terry McDonough (Cardinals), George Paton (Vikings), Scott Pioli (Falcons), Duke Tobin (Bengals), and Eliot Wolf (Packers).
That is interesting discussion on its own, but Breer dropped this little nugget in describing Wolf, who serves as the Green Bay Packers director of football operations.
Once Seattle’s John Schneider signed his extension, the assumption became that Wolf would succeed Thompson in Green Bay, maybe very soon. The rumor mill has also tied him to the Niners.
Eliot Wolf tied to the San Francisco 49ers. Well, well, well. It remains to be seen how specific this rumor is. It would seem to suggest someone at the 49ers has suggested it to other people. The 49ers clearly are high on the radar for potentially needing a general manager, but they have never been connected to Wolf. This rumor would seem to come from some kind of chatter.
Wolf is the son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf. The younger Wolf has spent 13 years in the Packers organization. He joined the team in 2004 as a pro personnel assistant. After four seasons in that position, he served as assistant director of pro personnel from 2008 to 2010. From 2011 to 2014 he was director of pro personnel. In 2015, he was promoted to director of player personnel. This past March he was promoted to director of football operations. In his current role, the Packers describe his duties as follows:
His primary duties include coordinating the pro and college football departments as well as handling both college and pro player evaluation through film study, college visits, pro days, college all-star games and the NFL Scouting Combine. During the season, he is responsible for overseeing advance scouting of upcoming Packers opponents, evaluating potential free-agent signees and recommending player tryouts.
There is always a concern about nepotism, but by all indications, Wolf is respected around the league. I have read in the past that he would eventually succeed Ted Thompson, but it is possible he might want to strike out on his own sooner rather than later. He only has the one year in this director role, so it will be interesting to see if he gets some interviews, or if things hold off for at least another year.
Any potential outside hire raises plenty of questions about Chip Kelly’s future. If I am getting a general manager job, if I am not sure about the existing coach, I am probably going to want to bring in my own guy. It would just make for a crazier January in Santa Clara. But for now, it is merely at the introductory rumor stage.