Is Trent Baalke on the hot seat? (Rob Turnage)
Do you think the ownership will trust Baalke with the 2017 draft picks with his track record? (Blair Wilkins)
There is no question general manager Trent Baalke is on the hot seat. And there’s virtually nothing he can do at this stage in the season to strengthen the team for the final 11 games.
The biggest problem with how the team is constructed is that the 2016 49ers have the same weaknesses at the 2015 49ers. When last season ended, it was apparent the 49ers needed upgrades at quarterback, wide receiver and pass-rusher.
But the team did nothing of significance at quarterback, and their receiver position was weakened with the team opting to pass on re-signing Anquan Boldin.
And while the 49ers selected a defensive tackle in the first round of the draft for a second consecutive season, the team did nothing at the more impactful position of outside linebacker.
The only improvement from a year ago appears to be along the defensive line – but more performances like Thursday night and that point might be reconsidered, too.
With tons of salary cap room, the only veteran addition to the team came with the free-agent signing of guard Zane Beadles. Then, the 49ers traded back into the end of the first round to select guard Joshua Garnett, who found himself on the sideline for the first five games of the season.
That is not a good sign when the team has the same weaknesses year after year. The 49ers will not be an organization heading in the right direction until they add a quarterback around whom to build their roster.
The call belongs to CEO Jed York, but it’s obvious Baalke’s future with the 49ers is very much in jeopardy because he has regularly ignored the team’s weaknesses at impact positions.
New coaching staff yet same bad results when Tomsula was here. Did the 49ers really improve under Kelly? (Isam Sabbah)
The 49ers were horrible last season under Jim Tomsula. The team is just as bad this season, thus far, under first-year coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers do not have the players to compete on a week-to-week basis. Regardless of who is the coach, the 49ers would be among the worst teams in the league. And that includes Jim Harbaugh, whose “mutual parting” with the 49ers was the best thing that could have happened for him.
The restructuring of Kap’s contract, is that to get him on the field or off the team? (Stephen Burke)
Were the 49ers reluctant to play Kap because of his contract language? (Anthony Martinez)
The 49ers have proposed to Colin Kaepernick a new contract that eliminates the injury guarantee for next season. That’s what the 49ers want. The proposal would rip up the final four years of Kaepernick’s contract, making him a free agent at the end of this season. That is what Kaepernick wants. (But that also potentially helps the 49ers, too, because they would be in line for a compensatory draft pick.)
It is not a certainty that Kaepernick will opt to eliminate the injury guarantee that was negotiated into his contract when his $115 million contract extension was signed in June 2014. Kaepernick has no reason to forego the insurance policy, other than to guarantee he is in complete control of his future after this season.
So, to answer the first question. . . The proposal would enable the 49ers to get Kaepernick on the field immediately without any financial risks for the future. It would also enable Kaepernick to leave the team after this season and pick among his options.
So is Kaepernick’s contract keeping him off the field right now? I don’t believe so. Kelly stated Thursday night that Blaine Gabbert has been better in practices than Kaepernick. Kelly also said Baalke has never told him who should and should not play. The coaches, and the coaches alone, determine the depth chart.
So, perhaps, the 49ers’ front office is anticipating a switch from Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick and there’s now urgency to get this deal done before Kaepernick takes over and is subjected to the inherent risks of playing.
As the contract currently stands, if Kaepernick sustains an injury that lingers past April 1, the club would be on the hook to fully guarantee his scheduled $14.5 million base salary for the 2017 season.