“I have had the benefit of watching Trent closely in the recent months and have been very impressed with his knowledge and leadership,” 49ers team president Jed York.
The San Francisco 49ers have decided to stay in-house to hire their next general manager. Trent Baalke, who was vice president of player personnel for the 49ers, as been hired as their new general manager. Baalke had a good track record this past year in making personnel decisions in drafting offensive linemen Anthony Dixon and Mike Iupati and extending the contracts of Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis for five-years. But is Baalke the most qualified person the 49ers could have hired? No. I could accept the hiring of Baalke if the 49ers had a team president with a proven track record running a team or previous experience as a general manager like the Falcons Rich McKay to help Baalke. Instead the 49ers have Jed York at 29 years old who is not a team president to be excited about and was handed his job because his parents are the owners.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle former Raiders executive Michael Lombardi, and current NFL Network analyst, was the other finalist for GM. Lombardi has 23 years of experience at the NFL level as a scout, director of personnel and an executive. Baalke has 12 years of experience as a scout and director of personnel. To top it off Lombardi was recommended by Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Instead of listening to one of the best executives and top coaches in the NFL York went with what made him feel comfortable and hired Baalke. We have seen this before with the hiring of Mike Singletary and that didn’t work out. What the 49ers need is a purge of the front office of all things related to Mike Nolan and Singletary. This includes Baalke as he has been with the 49ers since 2005.
The first step for Baalke as the 49ers new general manager is to find a head coach. The 49ers have received permission to interview Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson for their head coaching position. Fewell has seven games of NFL head coaching experience with the Bills while Jackson has zero experience. All along I have been calling for the 49ers to hire someone with NFL head coaching experience. The one exception for this, and for me to accept the hiring of Baalke, is if the 49ers hire Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach. There are many suitors for Harbaugh’s services so Baalke and York will have to make their best sales job they have ever made to get him to join the organization. Harbaugh could very well look at the 49ers front office inexperience and decided he wants to coach for a team with proven executives. Hopefully the 49ers young talent on offense and defense will be enough for Harbaugh to take over the reins. I will have a post up later today about why the 49ers should hire Harbaugh. If Harbaugh declines it would be wise for Baalke to not only hire a coach with actual NFL head coaching experience but also someone who is offensive-minded. The 49ers do not need another coach who is a hot coordinator at the time (Nolan) or someone that inspires the front office and makes them feel warm inside (Singletary). If not the 49er Faithful are ready to turn on York and Baalke and blame them for the consistent years of losing by making the same horrible decisions.