Trent Baalke

NFL Hires Former 49ers GM Trent Baalke

Trent Baalke is back in football. The former 49ers GM has accepted a job within the league office, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweetsTrent Baalke (vertical)

Baalke will serve as a “Football Operations Consultant,” a job which is composed of several micro-jobs. He’ll have “an advisory role on game-related matters, officiating, player development and evaluation, and officiating video review,” sources tell Schefter.

Baalke was canned by San Francisco in January after five years as the team’s GM. Prior to that, he spent six years in the Niners’ front office. Under his leadership, the Niners advanced to the Super Bowl after the 2011 season, but that wasn’t enough for him to keep his job after a two-win season.

At one point this winter, Baalke was in the mix for a job in the Packers’ front office, but that never materialized.

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Trent Baalke Could Join Packers Front Office

Former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke could land with the Packers in a front office role, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, who adds that “speculation” has tied Baalke to Green Bay given his friendship with Packers GM Ted Thompson.Trent Baalke (vertical)

[RELATED: 2017 NFL GM Search Tracker]

Green Bay’s front office could soon be the site of upheaval, as Brian Gutekunst, the club’s director of college scouting, will take a second interview for the 49ers GM job (ironically, to replace Baalke), and is thought to be the leading contender for the position. Thomspon has also been rumored to be nearing retirement, and Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf have each been mentioned as candidates to replace him. Earlier today, Wolf signed a new contract to remain in Green Bay, removing himself from San Francisco’s search.

Baalke, meanwhile, has been linked to another club this winter, as a December report indicated that he could join the Broncos in some capacity after departing the Niners. Having enjoyed a working relationship with Denver GM John Elway as the Broncos and 49ers conducted recent joint practices, Baalke could make for a natural fit in the Denver front office.

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Chip Kelly Eyeing Offensive Coordinator Job

Chip Kelly is out in San Francisco and he already knows what he wants to do next. The former 49ers head coach says that he would like to be an offensive coordinator, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Glazer did not specify whether Kelly was referring to an NFL or college opportunity, but our educated guess is that Kelly is looking to stay in the professional ranks. Chip Kelly (Vertical)

[RELATED: Trent Baalke Blocked 49ers From Drafting Dak Prescott]

Kelly also says that former GM Trent Baalke was working to get him fired for several weeks. Ultimately, Baalke got his way, but both men were shown out the door together. This isn’t the first time that Baalke has swayed ownership to make a coaching change. Glazer says that Baalke was the reason the 49ers elected not to hire Adam Gase in 2015, and instead went with Jim Tomsula. Apparenty, the Niners were set to announce Gase as their new coach before Baalke went to Jed York and undercut the decision. Gase’s Dolphins are getting ready for Wild Card weekend while the 49ers are blowing things up (again) after a two-win season.

This has been a bad week of PR for Baalke. On Monday, it was reported that Kelly and others in the organization were pushing for the team to draft Dak Prescott but Baalke did not pull the trigger on taking him.

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49ers Dismiss Trent Baalke, Chip Kelly

The 49ers have fired general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly, per a team announcement.

“Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary,” said CEO Jed York.

Chip Kelly

Baalke confirmed earlier Sunday that the team had let him go after a six-year run as its GM, while ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Kelly would also exit as part of “widespread changes” for the franchise.

Kelly, unlike Baalke, had neither a long nor remotely successful tenure with the 49ers. The offensive mind took over for the fired Jim Tomsula last winter and ultimately fared even worse than his predecessor, who guided San Francisco to a 5-11 finish in his lone year on the job. Under Kelly, the Niners amassed a paltry two wins – both of which came against the NFC West rival Rams. Kelly’s fast-paced offense was a major part of the problem, as the unit entered Sunday ranked 24th in DVOA, 27th in scoring and 29th in yardage.

Given his struggles in Philadelphia, where taking control over the roster led to his downfall, and San Francisco, it’s possible the 53-year-old Kelly’s days as an NFL coach are over. Kelly parlayed a 46-7 stretch at Oregon from 2009-12 into the Eagles’ head coaching job, which began in promising fashion. However, after back-to-back 10-win campaigns in 2013 and ’14, the Eagles sputtered to 6-9 in 2015 and let Kelly go with one week remaining in the season. He quickly landed in San Francisco, but his disastrous reign in the Bay Area leaves him with a 28-35 mark in nearly four full seasons in the pros. While Kelly denied interest in a potential return to the college ranks in October, that will likely be his next stop.

As for the 49ers, with Baalke and Kelly in the rear-view mirror, they’ll embark on an “exhaustive” search for a new GM and head coach, per FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager (Twitter link). The next regime will take over a club that’s set to pick second in this year’s draft. Further adding to the allure of both positions is that the 49ers should have upward of $85MM in cap room, as Joel Corry of CBS Sports notes (Twitter link).

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Trent Baalke Confirms He’s Been Fired By 49ers

Appearing on the 49ers’ pregame show today, Trent Baalke confirmed he’s been fired as the club’s general manager, accordin g to Kevin Jones of KNBR. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported last night that San Francisco is expected to part ways with both Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly, although Kelly has not yet been informed of his termination.Trent Baalke (vertical)

“It was the right thing to do. This is a class organization,” Baalke said. “You know, I’ve been here since 2005 and I have a lot of respect for the organization as a whole, and the ownership, the fan base. It’s difficult, but it’s the right thing to do.

“It didn’t surprise me,” Baalke said. “We’ve done some awful good things. Some very successful seasons. Unfortunately regret we weren’t able to bring a championship to the Bay Area, which they so deserve. I think The Faithful has been great. Wish this organization nothing but the best moving forward. I do see a bright future for them.”

The Baalke-Jim Harbaugh partnership dominated during the early 2010s, rocketing the franchise to relatively similar heights to which the teams of the 1980s and ’90s soared. San Francisco glided to three straight NFC championship games, came within a Baltimore goal-line stand of winning a sixth Super Bowl title and went 36-11-1 in that three-year span. Harbaugh’s departure after a tumultuous 2014 season marked the beginning of a rapid conclusion of this freefall under the 52-year-old Baalke’s watch, with the 49ers going 7-24 in the Jim Tomsula/Kelly seasons.

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49ers Expected To Fire Trent Baalke, Chip Kelly

The 49ers are expected to fire both Trent Baalke and Chip Kelly after Sunday’s game as part of “widespread changes” set for this franchise, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).

Schefter reports both are said to know their time is coming to an end in San Francisco, and the ESPN.com reporter notes meetings about the duo’s fate are expected to occur as early as Sunday night and no later than Monday.

Sources also informed NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport a house-cleaning involving both Baalke and Kelly being fired is likely. Ownership is prepared to eat the rest of Kelly’s four-year contract, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets, and met this week to discuss the roles of Baalke, Kelly and Jed York (Twitter link). Baalke still has two years left on his deal.

York, though, looks to be secure in his position. Schefter reports the CEO, along with executive VP Paraag Marathe, will lead the search for Baalke and Kelly’s successors.

While Baalke has long been rumored to be a chopping-block candidate after six years in charge of the team, a consensus on Kelly had not previously emerged. The coach’s willingness to adjust his accelerated offensive pace and reshuffle his staff — including DC Jim O’Neil — played a role in this decision, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports.

Should the team make these moves, it would mark the first time in 12 years the 49ers will have needed to replace both a head coach and GM. The 49ers did so when they hired Mike Nolan and Scot McGloughan in 2005. That came after the team finished 2-14 in 2004. If the 49ers drop their Week 17 game, it will mark the fourth 2-14 season in the franchise’s 70-year history. It also represents a staggering freefall from Baalke’s early years.

The Baalke-Jim Harbaugh partnership dominated during the early 2010s, rocketing the franchise to relatively similar heights to which the teams of the 1980s and ’90s soared. San Francisco glided to three straight NFC championship games, came within a Baltimore goal-line stand of winning a sixth Super Bowl title and went 36-11-1 in that three-year span. Harbaugh’s departure after a tumultuous 2014 season marked the beginning of a rapid conclusion of this freefall under the 52-year-old Baalke’s watch, with the 49ers going 7-24 in the Jim Tomsula/Kelly seasons.

Despite being hailed for his fast-paced offense, Kelly’s unit has only moved up two spots in the NFL hierarchy, rising from 31st to 29th. It’s a steep fall for Kelly if he’s fired for the second time in two years. In that same stretch, the 49ers’ defense has diminished much further, slinking from the No. 4-ranked unit in 2015 to the league’s worst this season. At 408.yards allowed per game, the 49ers are the only team yielding more than 400 yards per contest.

The 53-year-old coach has not been given much to work with after the 49ers almost completely bypassed free agency and featured a depleted roster. But the team’s win total sinking to these depths after a 5-11 campaign under Tomsula may have nullified belief among ownership the former Eagles and Oregon coach could turn it around.

If Kelly is axed, this will mark the first time a team has fired head coaches in consecutive years since the 1976-77 49ers. San Francisco already holds the distinction of being the only team since the AFL-NFL merger to do this and actually cycled through four coaches between 1976-78 before hiring Bill Walsh in 1979.

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Coaching Notes: Panthers, Bears, 49ers, Jets

After going 15-1 and losing the Super Bowl last season, the Panthers have taken a huge step back in 2016. The team enters the final week of the season with a 6-9 record, and both the offense and the defense rank towards the bottom half of the league in several team stats.

Despite the struggles, coach Ron Rivera indicated that he isn’t anticipating any changes to his coaching staff…as long as it’s his decision.

“Remember, it’s the same group that was 15-1, same group that led the league in scoring,” Rivera told Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “And in the last five years, we’ve had a top-10 defense. So as I look it and break things down, yeah, there’s some things that we have to work on and change. You guys heard me talk about evolving. We have to.”

As Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Rivera hasn’t stuck to similar promises in the past. For instance, the team relieved special teams coach Richard Rodgers of his duties following the 2014 campaign. Gantt believes that offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey could find themselves on the hot seat.

Let’s take a look at some other coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Things haven’t gone as planned during John Fox‘s second season with the Bears. The team is looking to avoid their worst 16-game record in franchise history, and blame will naturally lie on the head coach. Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune writes that chairman George McCaskey will likely wait until the end of the season to make any decisions on his coaching staff’s fate. Campbell notes that the organization waited until the 2014 offseason to fire general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.
  • Eric Branch of SFGate.com wonders if head coach Chip Kelly‘s unwillingness to adjust his fast-paced gameplan could ultimately lead to his demise with the 49ers. As the writer notes, the coach wasn’t necessarily put in a position to succeed with a lack of talent on the roster. However, Campbell believes the coach’s devotion to his gameplan could come up during offseason discussions with CEO Jed York and a new general manager (assuming Trent Baalke is fired). For what it’s worth, Kelly hasn’t indicated that he’s willing to change his ways. “I think we always look at everything on a weekly basis trying to see how we can improve,” Kelly said following his team’s overtime loss to the Jets in early December. “You look at the game yesterday: It’s about making one more play than the other team. It’s not like we’re getting taken to the woodshed and don’t have an opportunity to compete and play.”
  • Jets head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan are expected to receive a “mulligan” from owner Woody Johnson for the team’s subpar performance this season, writes ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. The writer acknowledges that it’s been a tough year for the organization, but he also notes that it’d be a knee-jerk reaction to fire the tandem after only two seasons.

NFC Rumors: Snead, 49ers, Norman, Giants

Les Snead‘s job status continues to generate disparate stances, but the latest points to the Rams GM being ousted. Snead is expected to follow Jeff Fisher out the door, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who notes the five years without a winning record — and Los Angeles boasting the league’s worst offense — will make it difficult to generate enthusiasm from a fanbase the franchise is attempting to grow now that it’s back in California.

Earlier this month, a report emerged that Snead was expected to survive, with another indicating the GM was not long for employment in L.A. With the Rams having lost to the 49ers and dropping to 4-11 — in line for their worst record since 2011, the final year of the pre-Snead/Fisher regime — it’s obvious the more fan-friendly move would be to start fresh.

Here’s more from around the league on Christmas Day.

  • Neither Trent Baalke nor Chip Kelly is expected to survive Black Monday, per Volin, with a new 49ers GM expected to be able to select his own coach. Kelly’s team won its first game since Week 1 in beating the Rams in L.A., but the formerly sought-after coach steered the team to its worst losing streak in the franchise’s 70-year history. Baalke could land in Denver due to his solid relationship with Broncos GM John Elway, but the sixth-year decision-maker has overseen a 49ers freefall over the past two years after that run of three consecutive conference championship games.
  • Josh Norman considered overtures from the Bears this offseason but told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune) postgame the sides weren’t on the same page. “At one point they were in the running,” Norman said. “They weren’t talking what I was talking about, though. I evaluate the team as well but if you’re not in the same [area when it comes to pay], you’re disqualified.” Washington beat out several teams to sign Norman, who intercepted two passes on Sunday, for five years and $75MM.
  • Dirk Koetter did not address Doug Martin‘s future with the Buccaneers after the team’s loss to the Saints on Saturday, noting that his decision to make the running back a healthy scratch came from believing previous injury replacement Jacquizz Rodgers was a better option, per Bradley Handwerger of the Associated Press. Rodgers was a healthy inactive last week. Martin’s $7MM salary next season is fully guaranteed as part of his five-year, $35.75MM deal, but no guaranteed money is part of this deal after 2017.
  • The Giants clinched their first playoff berth in five years Saturday, but a view around the league is they’ve received a reputation of seeing leniency from the commissioner’s office. This comes after they were penalized a maximum of 12 draft slots for their walkie-talkie infraction. “My understanding is that folks inside the Giants organization, they generally win the jump balls,” Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said during a radio appearance (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com). “They have that working in their favor. The John Mara connection. Look, it’s a league where the commissioner formally answers to the owners, so the most influential owners are going to have the greatest influence on the commissioner. Teams realize [they] don’t have any juice with the commissioner and other teams do. The Giants do. It’s not a surprise.” When comparing this penalty to the league docking the Chiefs a third-round pick for committing a common violation regarding premature free agency dialogue with Jeremy Maclin, Florio categorized the Giants as getting off easy.

49ers’ Trent Baalke Could Land With Broncos

According to several reports out of San Francisco, 49ers GM Trent Baalke will likely be pushed out this offseason. If that’s the case, then he may not be out of work for long. Baalke, who has a good relationship with John Elway, could wind up with the Broncos, sources tell Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.comTrent Baalke (vertical)

[RELATED: 49ers Place Center Daniel Kilgore On IR]

Baalke and Elway have spent time considerable together while the two teams held joint practices each of the past two summers. Elway figures to continue as the Broncos’ lead decision-maker, but Baalke could be brought in with some type of consultant title.

Although the 49ers are struggling with just one win so far this year, the team isn’t too far removed from success. In Baalke’s first three seasons at the helm, the 49ers made deep playoff runs. The Niners made it to the conference championship round in the 2011 and 2013 seasons and reached the Super Bowl following the 2012 season.

Baalke may not get to run another team right away, but he is highly respected as a college talent evaluator and could bring that expertise to Denver next year.

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Mike Shanahan Could Take Role With 49ers?

MONDAY, 8:18pm: A Shanahan-49ers reunion will not happen, a source informed Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who reports the former 49ers OC and Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach will not be overseeing the 49ers “in any capacity.” Florio’s source spoke differently of the team’s plans compared to a Monday La Canfora report made during a radio appearance, one that centered around a forthcoming 49ers decision to bounce CEO Jed York of the football-operations side of the team and bring in Shanahan or someone else to run the football side.

La Canfora reported John and Denise York would not be replacing Jed York but instead hire someone else to oversee the football ops. Florio reports a Jed York demotion will not occur.

SUNDAY, 11:33am: A report last week indicated a “growing sense” that the 49ers will fire general manager Trent Baalke at the end of the season, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com now reports that it would be a “mild surprise” if Baalke were to be retained. One candidate to fill a role with San Francisco — whether in the club’s front office or in a coaching capacity — is longtime NFL coach Mike Shanahan, according to La Canfora.Mike Shanahan

[RELATED: 49ers Extend TE Vance McDonald]

Shanahan, 64, interviewed for the 49ers’ head coaching vacancy in each of the past two seasons, and was thought to have finished second to Chip Kelly for the job earlier this year. However, with Denise and John York set to take an active role in the franchise, Shanahan’s name could once again pop up, as he’s spoken to the couple about club openings in the past. Shanahan reportedly wanted to part ways with quarterback Colin Kaepernick if he secured the San Francisco job earlier this year, and while that may have caused him to miss out on the gig at the time, a wish to release Kaepernick now presumably wouldn’t be a hindrance.

However, most reports indicate that Kelly should be safe, which could mean that Shanahan would instead be targeted for an executive role. Shanahan has never worked as a general manager, but he has exerted personnel control over his rosters as a head coach in his previous stops.

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