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What are the duties of the 49ers GM?

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A glance and response to an article written by Inside the Pylon.

Dan Hatman from Inside the Pylon had an interesting section tied to his December of 2016 article on the General Manager Candidate study called “Buying the Groceries”. I highly recommend giving it a read, as it is an insightful article. In it, he lists the duties a general manager may have. As Dan puts it, there is no single right profile of the correct GM. It will come down in part to what Jed York decides are some of the right skills he wants.

Fooch’s note: The Better Rivals podcast chatted with Dan about the GM hiring earlier this week. Give it a listen here.

Let’s take a look at what Dan discussed, and try to decide which of these duties the new 49ers general manager will actually have.

Coach and staff selection

Jed York has already said he is going to pick the head coach. Maybe Jed will consider suggestions made by the candidates during his general manager interviews but I think we need to take Jed at his word when he says he is going to hire the head coach. As to the staff, I imagine that will be a question raised during the coach and/or GM introductory press conference(s).

Management of scouting department

It has always been assumed that the general manager for the 49ers is ahead of the scouting department and I have not seen anything to suggest otherwise.

Contract negotiations

I am pretty sure Paraag Marathe takes care of the contract negotiations. From what we have heard lately, it would seem more like the general manager answers more to Marathe than the other way around, at least in this regard.

Player personnel decisions

I have never heard of Jed York or Marathe telling Baalke or any other General Manager which players to pick.

He may also have duties such as:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Stadium development
  • Media
  • Community relations

I am pretty sure the General Manager of the 49ers does not have any of the responsibilities on the second list. Jed York mentioned the team has a president in Al Guido. Some people jumped on that as though Guido makes football decisions. That is not the case. Guido is a stadium guy who got in with the 49ers in the SBL selling process. He is focused on the business side of things.

I think Hatman does a great job of describing the duties of the 49ers General Manager in this statement:

“No matter the approach, an NFL GM clearly has a difficult job in terms of building a championship roster. He must balance the salary cap, determine when to pay veteran players and when to let them go, decide whom the club will select in the draft and what trades are necessary, and must also work with other GMs to see if trades are available to improve the roster. All these moves should build a roster of 90 players that provide the coaching staff with enough talent to install its game plans. The GM then must whittle that roster down to 53 players with enough talent to perform on a high level on offense, defense and special teams, while still providing depth at each position. All of this must occur while managing the personalities in the locker room and among the coaching staff. This is not possible alone, therefore great GM’s surround themselves with talented scouts and personnel executives who can aid the GM in making the best decisions for the team.”

Hatman closes out his article by saying owners have to ask themselves what kind of leader do they really want. Do they want an experienced personnel man that comes with a proven plan or a younger executive with less experience who has new and fresh ideas, maybe someone closer to their own age that can relate to them?