49ers reward GM Trent Baalke with 3-year extension
The San Francisco 49ers have confidence in Trent Baalke leading
them for the long haul.
The general manager on Friday received a three-year contract
extension through the 2016 season. CEO Jed York tweeted that
negotiations were finalized over a recent dinner.
”Contentious contract negotiation w/Trent over dinner. Didn’t
finalize terms until after we finished the chips & salsa,”
York also formally announced Friday the addition of Gideon Yu as
president and co-owner after tweeting it last week, when NFL owners
at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis approved a $200 million loan to
help the 49ers build a stadium near their current training
NFC West champion San Francisco went 13-3 in 2011 and advanced
to the NFC title game before losing in overtime to the eventual
Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Not only did Baalke hire away NFL Coach of the Year Jim Harbaugh
from nearby Stanford in January 2011, in perhaps his best signing
of all, he also acquired All-Pro placekicker David Akers and
brought in two Pro Bowl defensive backs – re-signing safety Dashon
Goldson and adding cornerback Carlos Rogers. Not to mention safety
Donte Whitner, who dealt his share of blows in a victory against
the favored Saints in the NFC divisional round.
They all made key impacts during a turnaround season as the
49ers ended an eight-year drought without a playoff berth or
”Trent has distinguished himself as the man to direct our
football operations for years to come,” York said. ”Since taking
over as general manager last January, we have made great strides on
the football field under Trent’s leadership. It gives me great
pleasure to watch Trent and Jim work arm in arm with the common
goal of leading the 49ers to championships.”
The 49ers earned the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff
bye and went 6-2 on the road, with four of those victories coming
in comeback fashion.
All that after Baalke drew criticism over whether he had made
enough splashy moves in free agency to improve his roster after the
Baalke has been with the team in various jobs since 2005, when
he was hired as a regional scout. He moved up to director of player
personnel in 2008, to vice president in the same capacity in 2010
and to general manager last year.
The reserved Baalke expressed his gratitude to the York family,
Harbaugh, the other coaches and football operations staff as well
as the players.
”The success we experienced on the field was a direct result of
their efforts,” Baalke said. ”It is a privilege to work for the
49ers organization, alongside this group, as we continue our
pursuit of championships.”
When York began looking for a GM, he vowed to open an exhaustive
national search, then ultimately decided to go with the familiar
face who had shown plenty of leadership and reliable
decision-making. York took heat for it, too, as some believed he
had settled for Baalke over a bigger name.
Yet it was Baalke who orchestrated the contract extensions for
two key 49ers before the 2010 season: All-Pro linebacker Patrick
Willis and tight end Vernon Davis. Running back Frank Gore got his
coveted new deal before the 2011 season.
Baalke, a former college coach who also worked four years in the
scouting department for the Washington Redskins before coming to
San Francisco, made two first-round picks in 2010 – offensive
linemen Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati – and both became instant
starters. Last season’s rookies also shined: Aldon Smith with 14
sacks, Kendall Hunter as Gore’s reliable backup, and Bruce Miller
as a defensive end turned fullback.
Akers’ 44 field goals set an NFL record – Baalke scooped him up
when the Eagles decided he was expendable.
”He had a plan, and he stuck with it,” Goldson said late in
the year. ”And look where we’re at now.”