The San Francisco 49ers are expected to fire general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly shortly after the 2017 NFL season comes to a close. Given that Saturday evening report, it is no surprise various candidate names are popping up for roles in the organization. Jason La Canfora offered up this tweet late Saturday evening with candidates for both jobs.
Some names I've heard 49ers will consider for GM - Louis Riddick, Scott Pioli, George Paton. High on coaches Josh McDaniels, Vance Joseph— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 1, 2017
Whatever happens with the GM position, the fact that we are hearing rumors about interest in some head coaches is kind of troublesome. The 49ers are likely beginning their decision-making on the GM process, but the formal search and interview process will likely not start until Monday.
The fact that there are already coaching candidates suggested before the GM search has formally begun suggests a couple things:
- The team already has a GM in mind, and potentially has already spoken to such a person, and/or
- Jed York is going to remain a little too active in the football side of things.
The York family owns the 49ers, so they can do whatever they want with the hiring and firing process. If they want to interview head coaches, or they want to tell a GM candidate, “would you be comfortable pursuing coaches X, Y, or Z?” it is their prerogative. However, it suggests Jed York is potentially going to remain an active participant in the football operations side of things.
Again, he can do what he wants, but it is hard to get optimistic about this process if potential GM candidates are not given a completely blank slate to do with as they best see fit. Maybe this ends up with a GM who has full autonomy, but given how much of the York ownership era has gone, it’s just hard to get too excited about the process at this stage.
Change is necessary, so firing Baalke and Kelly and just entirely cleaning house is a positive step forward. But will they learn from previous mistakes, or will this be a case of one step forward, one or two steps back? Some would prefer we give Jed & Co. the benefit of the doubt, but I’m inclined to set my expectations low until proven otherwise.