There has been a lot of vitriol thrown the way of the York family after the events that took place ending the Jim Harbaugh era in Santa Clara. Now the new guard, including head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, seems to have started a new age of spending and activity in free agency, much like we've never seen before. (Or at least in a long time.)
The San Francisco 49ers had the second most cap space to spend at the end of the 2016 season, the Browns were the only team with more money and a worse record. The big question: would the 49ers actually loosen the purse strings? The surprising answer is YES.
The 49ers have already locked in well more than a dozen free agents during free agency. Agreements have been happening from early morning until well after business hours on the West coast. (Matt Barkley’s announcement happened after 8 p.m. PT) Lynch also offers an unfamiliar level of transparency. At the NFL annual meeting in Phoenix he admitted that there were a few more players that they had in the works. In the following week, RB Tim Hightower and LB Jayson DiManche were signed.
Mind you, I can still hear former 49ers GM Trent Baalke’s famous line “Are we ever transparent in what we do?” in my head.
So what has changed? It’s not the ownership. Baalke did state last season that the Yorks never restricted the money he was allowed to spend. Was that Baalke falling on the sword in loyalty to his employer knowing his time with the team was coming to and end or was it his own personal philosophy that got in the way of free agency acquisitions? Baalke did regularly spout the quote that only 10 percent of free agents make the Pro Bowl, somewhat explaining his apathy in signing them.
Then there is the release of CB Tramaine Brock after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. This was the first instance of a starting player getting cut on a first known incident. In the past, several players were allowed to practice and even play in games while their cases were investigated, Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith to name a few. Fullback Bruce Miller had an offseason domestic incident with his then fiance in 2015. He had a second incident in which he assaulted two male strangers in 2016, and was only then immediately released.
So is it time to lighten the pressure on Jed York and company? Does the blame for the last three seasons fall almost entirely on the shoulders of Baalke and his decisions? Or did the Yorks suddenly turn over a new leaf, realizing they needed to change their approach to the way the team was run for the past several seasons and freely spend money like they have refrained from doing in the past? I’m not saying that any owner should be worshiped unconditionally but is it time to cut Jed some slack?
Is it time to start cutting Jed some slack?
This poll is closed
Not until the 49ers have a winning season
Not until the 49ers earn a playoff berth
Not until the 49ers win in the post season
Not until the 49ers win a Super Bowl