Cleaning house is never fun and it’s usually happens after having a few rough years, but I think Trent Baalke should have also been fired along with Jim Tomsula after last season. Now we’ve wasted a year of rebuilding and probably missed out on a few key players we could have been rebuilding with from this past draft class. The 49ers are at a crossroads once again and I believe they should hire their general manager first instead of hiring their coach first. Both guys need to be on the same page and it doesn’t make sense for a head coach to hire essentially his boss. The right way to do it is to hire a general manager that has a vision on how he wants this franchise to operate. Then have interviews for head coaches and hire the guy that fits the vision, the guy that shares the same philosophy on how this franchise should be. The new general manager needs to be an outside hire, just because a lot of the current guys are former Baalke followers and they share the same philosophies. The 49ers need a fresh set of eyes to guide them back to the glory days. The 49ers are currently the only team looking for a general manager unless the Los Angeles Rams make a change. They will have no competition in hiring the right person.
The 49ers kicked off their interviews for a new general manager today interviewing a pair of Packers personnel executives Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst. These 2 are right at the top of my list of potential candidates for the job.
Eliot Wolf is actually my top guy for the job since the Chiefs blocked the 49ers from interviewing him for the job. Eliot Wolf is the son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf. Ron Wolf was the mentor to former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan who put together the 49ers team that want to 3 NFC championship games and a Super Bowl. Eliot Wolf got his start when he was 10 years old when he would spend days with his dad at Lambaeu field going over film. In 2004 he got his 1st official title with the Packers organization where he spent 4 years as the Pro personnel assistant, since then he has had a quick rise in the organization. This past season he was promoted to Director of football operations. His primary duties were handling both college and pro player evaluations. Including film study, college visits, pro days, college all star games, and the scouting combine. He also has the task of overseeing the scouting of the Packers upcoming opponents, potential free agents, and player try outs. He’s had a hand in drafting current star Packers, Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and BJ Raji. Eliot Wolf is only 34 years old and I believe he could be the guy to help turn this franchise around. The young Wolf definitely has the knowledge and work ethic to become a great general manager. If they can pair him with a young head coach that share the same philosophy maybe a Kyle Shanahan or Sean McVay they can help develop a Super Bowl caliber team for years to come.
Brian Gutekunst has spent 18 years with the Packers organization. 13 years mostly inthe college scouting department and has recently taken more responsibilities on the pro side. Since the 49ers are going to heavily rely on the drafts to build a team it would be a great move to have a general manager that recognizes NFL talent in the college ranks. Brian has worked under the guidance of Ted Thompson and Ron Wolf. Brian has the set of eyes to evaluate talent at the college level.
An intriguing candidate is Louis Riddick. His name began to surface last week when rumors of Trent Baalke began. Louis Riddick is currently an ESPN analyst, but was drafted by the 49ers in 1991 but never played a game for them. He spent 6 years in the NFL as a safety, but has spent 13 years in a front office role. He was the director of pro personnel for the Redskins for 2 years and held the same role in Philadelphia for 3 years. Spent a few seasons as a pro scout. He’s been an ESPN analyst since leaving Philadelphia in 2013. Riddick has expressed his interest of the GM job on air and is a strong candidate for the job. Riddick has a very strong personality and could be the reason why he’s spent time away from a front office role. He tells it how it is and a lot of people don’t like it. Riddick is a big fan of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels who is set to interview later this week. Riddick and McDaniels could be a great pairing for the 49ers. Riddick also has a strong enough personality to keep Jed York away from making football related decisions.
The rumor is that Jed York wants to be the New England Patriots of the west. He wants the 49ers to operate just like Patriots organization. What’s the best way to do that? Of course it’s to bring over current Patriots. Nick Caserio is one of the top guys in that organization and he’s also set to interview with the 49ers later this week. Caserio has been in the Patriots organization since 2001 and has worked as an executive and coach. He is currently the Director of player Personnel. A lot of people who worked under Caserio have gone on to become GMs in the NFL and those teams have seen recent improvement and the guys Caserio works under continue to stay within the franchise. Belichick loves Caserio and deflects a lot of the team’s success to him. Hiring Caserio away from the Patriots would be huge hire not just because he’ll be bringing along a championship pedigree, but also the chances of pairing him with Josh McDaniels are high. McDaniels and Caserio are former college teammates and have a great relationship on and off the field. This hire could trigger a domino effect in which McDaniels would be hired and he would bring QB Jimmy Garopollo via trade and also convince current Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to fly cross-country and run McDaniels’s defensive unit.
Other candidates include Colts VP of Football Operations Jimmy Raye III, Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, Seahawks co director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, and Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane. I believe they are bringing in Brandon Beane for an interview because of his relationship with defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. McDermott was just added to the list of coaching candidates a few hours ago.
There is a lot of pressure on Jed and his team to hire the right guy for this job. The fans are calling for his job and this team is at a crossroads. If they can hire the right pairing of GM and HC this franchise can return to the glory days of old.