The San Francisco 49ers are in the midst of potentially blowing things up and truly beginning the rebuild process. There are questions about Jed York and Paraag Marathe, but firing Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly at least provides a chance for a significant rebuild.
The 49ers might turn things around with this rebuild, but I think most will agree this probably should have happened a year ago. Trent Baalke has done some good things for the 49ers, but recent years have been a struggle for the front office. In light of what went down in 2016, and where things stand now, the past calendar year, was a waste in many ways.
Last May, ESPN put together grades for the 2016 offseason. Plenty of transactions happened after May, but by that point, the draft and the bulk of free agency were complete. At the time, ESPN gave the 49ers a C. On Wednesday, Mike Sando put together a re-grade of the 2016 offseason, and he gave the 49ers an F.
In describing the previous year’s grade, Sando said the hiring of Chip Kelly and the drafting of DeForest Buckner could be reason enough to give them a C. However, given all the issues up and down the roster, the grade is dropped to an F because the 49ers probably should have fired Trent Baalke last year and given their new head coach (whether it be Chip Kelly or anybody else) a better chance at a fresh start.
Here is what Sando had to say about the 49ers offseason.
Hiring Chip Kelly as head coach and drafting DeForest Buckner in the first round seemed sensible enough to earn a middling grade last offseason. But it was probably a bad sign when Bill Polian compared the 49ers to the Browns -- not as an insult, but rather to highlight another team still in the embryonic stages.
San Francisco drafted 11 players in 2016, giving the 49ers a league-high 33 selections over the past three drafts. No one was sure what those players would become. It's looking like too many of them will not become much, one reason San Francisco fares worse on the re-grade.
Kelly took over a young roster of unknowns into his first season. Did the 49ers really expect the team to far exceed its eventual 2-14 record? In retrospect, ownership would have been better off firing GM Trent Baalke one year ago instead of now. That would have given Kelly a chance to start fresh and in alignment with a new GM, improving his chances for success. Instead, the 49ers wasted another year, making their 2016 offseason look even worse in hindsight.