Friday, May 7, 2010
49ers' front office ripe for reshaping?
By Mike Sando
A few thoughts on Matt Maiocco's note about the 49ers having to comply with the Rooney Rule before promoting Trent Baalke to general manager:
- The league understands NFL teams' interests in maintaining continuity. If the 49ers had written into Baalke's contract a clause saying he would succeed Scot McCloughan as GM, Baalke could have moved into the top spot without waiting for the 49ers to consider minority candidates.
- The 49ers had no reason to write such language into Baalke's deal because they couldn't be sure he would fit as GM if McCloughan stepped down.
- The 49ers did not have to interview outside candidates when they promoted Mike Singletary as head coach because Singletary fulfilled the Rooney Rule.
- Baalke seems to have stepped up in relief of McCloughan, making him a logical candidate for the GM job if the team decides to hire one. Now that the draft has passed, the 49ers will presumably reshape the personnel department to some degree (McCloughan's brother, David, is on his way out as college scouting director, Maiocco notes).
- There's no reason the 49ers couldn't continue with the current arrangement. They haven't publicly committed to an organizational structure. David McCloughan's departure comes as no surprise given his brother's situation. Even if the 49ers do not name a GM, they would seemingly need someone to head up the college side of the personnel department.
On a side note, the Seahawks were able to promote Jim Mora from assistant coach to head coach without considering minority candidates because they had written Mora's eventual ascension into his contract. The Rams operated similarly when they named Mike Martz as Dick Vermeil's eventual successor.
"Look, we don't want anyone to do any end-run around the Rooney Rule," Rooney Rule architect Cyrus Mehri said in 2008, "but if you already had contractual succession planned, and that means in writing, then we don't have a problem with that."