A lot has been written of late regarding whom the 49ers may hire as their next GM and head coach. Many NFL insiders and various sportswriters believe that the search will end soon with the promotion of Trent Baalke to the GM position followed by an immediate offer to Jim Harbaugh. I myself have envisioned such a scenario unfolding in previous Bleacher Report articles.
Some reporters have gone as far as suggesting that Jed York, the 29 year old President and CEO of San Francisco 49ers, has been disingenuous in his comments that he was committed to conducting a national search for a GM. Some went as far as saying that the search had the appearance of a sham, suggesting that Jed York planned to promote current Vice President of Player Personnel Trent Baalke to the GM position all along.
But what if Jed York is truly being honest with us all? What if Jed York's definition of "General Manager" is far different and the role less "powerful" than we all assume it to be? Perhaps Baalke will in effect be hiring his own mentor in a relatively short-term role to help groom Baalke to eventually take over the entire role.
Baalke already appears to have the "ear" of Jed York. He may have risen to a level where he has Jed's trust in his decisions regarding player personnel and it has been suggested that he even helped Jed make the final decision to fire Mike Singletary. If Baalke knows he will still be in a position of power after a new GM is hired, he may not care about officially having the title of GM. Obviously, a top-notch GM would likely not want this role but an unemployed football executive may take a lesser role like this.
As for the next 49ers head coach, most people are focusing on Harbaugh and Gruden. While Jed York has stated that "Money is not an object", we all know that the Yorks have been about money all along. Harbaugh allegedly already has a contract extension offer from Stanford which exceeds three million per year. Clearly the likes of Harbaugh and Gruden will command somewhere between five and eight million per year—Pete Carroll type money. York will still owes Singletary his salary for another two years on top of what ever offer he makes to the new head coach.
Gruden has already been taken off many NFL insider lists as not being a good fit for San Francisco or not desiring the role. Many say Harbaugh will end up in Michigan or even Carolina—perhaps closer to his brother on the East Coast.
So where will the 49ers go if Harbaugh is not interested or not available?
Bill Cower? Doubtful.
Jeff Fisher? Wade Phillips? Perhaps but many say this would be going in the exact opposite direction of where most NFL teams are looking to go, which is towards younger, more "innovative" head coaches.
Josh McDaniels? Extremely doubtful unless Jed thinks video taping the opposition will help his 49ers win the NFC West next year (sorry, low blow I admit).
Which brings us to my suggestion: Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason Garrett has been the interim coach of the Cowboys since the firing of Wade Phillips and has done, in my opinion, a superb job in turning around a team that was clearly on the ropes under Wade Phillips.
Jerry Jones has yet to commit to Garrett as his permanent head coach and has stated that he will be conducting interviews for the position.
Obviously, Garrett will covet the Cowboys coaching job but wouldn't it be fun if only the 49ers helped drive Garrett's salary up on Jerry Jones?
Okay, so after Garrett, where do the 49ers go?
Here is my short list of other strong candidates:
New York Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer
Atlanta Falcons Offensive Coordinator Mike Mularkey
San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera
Lastly, I believe that there could not be a better time to build a coaching staff in San Francisco. I would strongly consider bringing in Josh McDaniels as my offensive coordinator and Wade Phillips as my defensive coordinator. It will surely be an interesting offseason in San Francisco.
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