No. 10: Trent Baalke’s 2015 Offseason
Jim Tomsula wasn’t the sole reason why the 49ers were bad in 2015. And neither was another series of factors that took place early in the year, which we’ll get to here shortly.
Regardless, the context was awfully clear to then-general manager Trent Baalke. The Niners were going through a massive transformation and were right in the middle of all kinds of controversy. But rather than admit a complete rebuild was needed, Baalke instead elected to put together an odd patchwork of players, both through free agency and the NFL Draft.
Some of his big offseason targets? Aging defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who would never play a regular-season game for San Francisco. Baalke also brought aboard running back Reggie Bush, although he found himself injured early in the season and made minimal impact. There was also wide receiver Torrey Smith, who was supposed to add speed to the offense, but that never materialized to desired results.
All of those players were given significant contracts, too, not just “thanks for being here” deals.
Baalke’s actions in the NFL Draft were interesting as well. He tabbed former Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead at No. 17, and it took Armstead a few years to fully hit his stride. Safety Jaquiski Tartt (Round 2) and tackle Trent Brown (Round 7) ended up being good picks.
Yet so many of Baalke’s middle selections, including wide receiver DeAndre Smelter who was coming off a torn ACL, left more than enough to be desired for a team needing a complete overhaul.
As the team rapidly started to degrade, the lack of impact talent acquired only fueled San Francisco’s discontent.