Members of 49ers organization with uncertain futures
Who's on the hot seat?
Thankfully for everyone associated with the 49ers, it’s almost over. But, then, it’s also just beginning.
Big changes are ahead for the 49ers shortly after the club wraps up its 2016 season against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. At the conclusion of a season in which the 49ers lost a club-record 13 consecutive games, few within the organization appear to be on solid footing.
Here’s a look at four key individuals with uncertain futures beyond the season finale...
It appears to be a fait accompli that Baalke will officially be out as 49ers general manager shortly after the team’s final game. Everybody within the organization and around the NFL seems to know it. Now, it’s just a matter of the official announcement.
And Baalke’s future might be less of a mystery than anyone else on this list. League sources have told CSNBayArea.com that Baalke will end up working under John Elway in the Denver Broncos’ personnel department.
[RELATED: Sources: Trent Baalke could end up with Broncos]
The 49ers are expected to interview approximately six general manager candidates. Some who could be on that list are Seattle co-directors of pro personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, Kansas City director of player personnel Chris Ballard, Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Dallas director of college/pro personnel Will McClay.
The last organization to have back-to-back one-and-done head coach was – you guessed it – the 49ers. The 49ers actually fired three coaches in three years before getting it right with Bill Walsh in 1979.
The general manager could make the call on Kelly’s immediate future with the organization. But it would be expected that whomever is running the 49ers’ personnel department would want to give it one season with Kelly to see if the situation is salvageable.
Regardless, Kelly has to make some changes. He is a smart football guy, but is he too stubborn take the necessary steps to adapt more to the professional game? He must have a plan after four NFL seasons to put in place a structure that allows his offense and defense to work together.
Assuming Kelly returns for a second season, it’s hard to believe he will not be forced to make some changes to his staff. The person under the most scrutiny for the way his unit under-performed is O’Neil, the defensive coordinator.
The 49ers have invested a lot of draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. But the results have been atrocious. The 49ers shut down the Los Angeles Rams twice. But every other offense pushed over and ran through the 49ers’ defense.
The 49ers have surrendered a franchise-worst 2,567 rushing yards entering Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. The club ranks last in the NFL in total yards and points allowed. O’Neil has spoken in recent weeks about the value of continuity, but his tenure with the 49ers is in danger of lasting just one season.
Kaepernick and the 49ers have experienced just about everything together. After six seasons -- including the high of a Super Bowl appearance and the low of mutual erosion of trust -- it appears what is best for both parties is to simply move on.
Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract before the start of the new league year on March 9. That is really the only move he can make. Otherwise, the 49ers would undoubtedly release him at a later date to avoid paying his scheduled $14.9 million pay for 2017.
Kaepernick, who said this week he is fully committed to playing in the NFL next season, will be free to sign with any team. The 49ers will look to add a veteran quarterback via trade or free agency, as well as pick up a player to develop in the draft.