49ers’ CEO Jed York: “Trent Baalke Will Remain The General Manager.”


Less than 24 hours after officially firing head coach Jim Tomsula, it was San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York who took the podium to address the team’s current state. A press conference that was slated for 10:30 a.m. this morning, York touched on a number of topics ranging from the team’s disappointing season to the steps needed to attain a sixth Super Bowl ring.

However, in his opening statement, he made it known to the 49ers beat writers that GM Trent Baalke’s job is safe. “Trent Baalke will remain the general manager of the 49ers,” York said. “Trent understands that I’m not satisfied with the current state of this team. Trent’s role is to find the next head coach and continue to build this roster and get us back to championship form.”

[Related: Baalke Receives Thumbs Up for 2011 Off-Season Moves]

York went on to say that he has the utmost confidence in Baalke’s ability to rebuild this franchise back into a Super Bowl contender as he’s done so in the past. “Trent has the skills to do this and get this done. He’s built championship rosters in the past. He’s got the respect of folks around the league and his peers. And, Trent knows that he and his staff are going to have all the resources available, at their disposal, to make sure that we get this job right.”

[Related: Baalke Receives Thumbs Up For 2010 Off-Season Moves]

In all honesty, I think Baalke has done a tremendous job as the team’s General Manager aside from the 2012 NFL Draft. In fact, I have been documenting his every move since he took over GM duties back in 2010 — as I analyze not just his 58 draft picks but his free-agent acquisitions/releases from each off-season to give the Forever Faithful a better understanding of his entire body of work.

“You’re going to make mistakes and if you learn from them, that’s what you hope to do. Just like the draft. People point to 2012. That was a bad draft. I’ve got no one to blame but myself for that because I was making the decisions, had the final say on who we drafted,” Baalke said.

Baalke owned up to the poor 2012 draft class that clearly has set the team back but vows changes are on the rise as they re-tool their current roster. “I think when you look at the roster, we’ve got work to do. There’s no question about that,” Baalke told 49ers beat writers.

The 49ers who rank among the top five in salary cap space when it’s all said and done should be extremely aggressive in free-agency. “We’re sitting in a very good situation relative to cap and cash for this off-season…so, we have the ability to do some things this offseason that we haven’t been able to do going into this one,” Baalke said.

Could that mean that New York Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson or Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller will be on their short-list? Hard to say. It’s a likely scenario that Wilkerson will not be franchised as the team already invested in last year’s first-round pick (No. 6) DE Leonard Williams while also having 2013 rookie of the year DE Sheldon Richardson coming up for a big pay day. Not to mention, Wilkerson broke his leg on the last game of the season — it doesn’t look good for him, as the team may go in another direction.

What about the offensive line? They can surely target Cleveland Browns RT Mitchell Schwartz or better yet strike a trade with one of his teammates — say All-Pro C Alex Mack. Whatever the case may be, the 49ers offensive line will need to be shored up next season as the free-agent signings of G Jordan Devey and RT Erik Pears were downright awful.

With the 49ers moving forward — they will first need to find a qualified Super Bowl caliber winning coach and it will be Baalke leading the charge. My gut feeling is that Sean Payton will be his primary target with a gold helmet.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.