The San Francisco 49ers made a couple big moves Thursday after their final OTA practice of the week.
The team announced that Trent Baalke has been promoted to Vice President of Player Personnel. Baalke served as the acting general manager after Scot McCloughan was let go by the team.
Baalke will oversee all aspects of player personnel, including the draft, free agency, trades and re-signings. As he did as the Director of Player Personnel for the previous two seasons, he will continue to manage the college scouting and pro personnel departments.
Also, the team has announced the following moves. Director of Pro Personnel Tom Gamble has been assigned additional college scouting responsibilities. Joel Patten has been named Director of College Scouting, while Matt Malaspina has been promoted to National Scout. Justin Chabot will now scout the Southeast Region after previously handling the South Region, which will now be covered by newly hired scout Bob Morris.
Baalke spoke with the media in a conference call about his new promotion.
On what changes he will have in his new role:
“I think [President and CEO] Jed [York] outlined everything that’s going to take place. I don’t know about a whole lot changes. Nothing changes in the context of what’s taken place the last five or six weeks.”
On whether he thinks he could be a general manager:
“That’s going to take care of itself in due time. I think people get way too caught up in what the term general manager and what that states, and it’s different around the league. I’m very happy with the promotion I got and I’m looking forward to the job.”
On the reports that head coach Mike Singletary is in charge of the roster and he’s in charge of personnel:
“Here again, who’s in charge of the 53, who’s in charge of the draft. The 49ers organization is not unique to the National Football League. When [former general manager] Scot [McCloughan] was here, coach Singletary had final say over the 53 as well. That’s not uncommon in the National Football League. I think from the draft, free agency, the final 53, the cuts and all that stuff. Really when you look at the broad scope, it’s a team effort. Someone ultimately has to make the final decision, but it’s not like there’s not a lot of thought put into it and not a lot of other people involved in the decisions that are made.”
On whether coach Singletary has more say in the final roster than when a free agent is brought in:
“I think the best way to say this guys is, we’re going to work together to get this done. As far as the 53 goes, at the end of the day coach is going to make the final decision. Once again there’s going to be a lot of input. As far as free agency goes, there’s going to be input both ways. We’re not going to bring in from a personnel prospective, a bunch of players that the coaching staff doesn’t want. So, we’re going to look for guys that fit the identity of the 49ers just like we did in the draft. And we’re going to get those kind of guys.”
On whether the added responsibility has been overwhelming the last few months:
“No, because there’s a lot of good people in this building. That’s what people fail to recognize sometimes. There are a lot of good people on the personnel side, on the coaching side, on the administrative side. So, from that standpoint, I’ve been able to concentrate on the personnel side. That’s my passion, that’s my love, that’s what I want to do. Because of all the talented people in the building, it gives us a chance to set up [inaudible].”
On the new Director of College Scouting Joel Patten:
“Joel Patten, you guys read the bio. Joel’s been in the league as a player, he’s been in the league as a scout. He’s an incredible evaluator and even a better person. Those are the kind of qualities we’re looking for. He brings a level of maturity to the organization to the personnel side of it that’s going to help us immensely. I’m looking forward to working with him again.”
On their being a lack of veteran experienced football people with the 49ers:
“[Director of Pro Personnel] Tom Gamble’s got 20-plus years. I’ve been in the league for over 12 years, a little over 12 years in the league. Joel Patten’s been in the league a long time. Some of our evaluators are young, but they’re also very talented. I don’t think age ever determines the talent that an individual has for the position or the role that they’re in. I don’t look at age. I don’t look at the number of years they’ve spent. I look at the quality of their work. We’ve got very talented people.”
On how intense the interview for the promotion was:
“I think it was a five and a half to six week interview. So, yes, it was a lot longer than most people endure. In terms of sitting down and talking through the things that we did after the draft and leading up to this promotion. I think most of it was done over that five to six week period where they got a chance to see the quality of the work.”
On him possibly moving to the Bay Area:
On when he plans to move:
“Right now, my daughter’s graduating from high school right now. In fact, she graduates and walks down the aisle on Saturday. So, at some point prior to training camp, that’s when the move will take place. But I’ll be back out in the Bay Area right after the national meetings in Florida the next week.”
On the length of his contract:
President Jed York, who was in New York at the time, also spoke of Baalke’s promotion. Bay Area Sports Examiner Ryan Leong has the transcript of York’s conference call at this link.
The 49ers also announced that sixth round draft pick WR Kyle Williams has agreed to a new four-year deal. He and CB Phillip Adams are the only draft picks to have signed new contracts.
I spoke with Williams yesterday about his optimism about joining the 49ers and had a piece about it this morning before I took the day off. You can read on Williams right here.
Head coach Mike Singletary also spoke after the practice on Thursday. Here is a transcript of his conference with the media.
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