49ers fire GM Trent Baalke, keep Chip Kelly ... for now

49ers fire GM Trent Baalke, keep Chip Kelly ... for now

Head coach Chip Kelly will meet with the San Francisco 49ers ownership following their season-ending game against the Seattle Seahawks, but general manager Trent Baalke has already been relieved of his duties.

Baalke confirmed the news to San Francisco radio station KNBR on Sunday, while explaining his reasons for choosing to attend the Seahawks fixture.

"It was the right thing to do. This is a class organisation," Baalke, who has been with the 49ers for 12 years, told the radio station.

"It didn't surprise me," Baalke added. "We've done some awful good things. Some very successful seasons. Unfortunately I regret we weren't able to bring a championship to the Bay Area, which they so deserve. I wish this organisation nothing but the best moving forward. I do see a bright future for them."

The 49ers entered Sunday's game with a 2-13 record, with both wins coming against the listless Los Angeles Rams.

Baalke, who became the 49ers GM in 2011, has paid the price for a series of disappointing drafts that have seen him fail to adequately replace the players who have either left the team or retired.

The 52-year-old has also previously received cricitism for signing off on promoting Jim Tomsula from defensive line coach to head coach to replace Jim Harbaugh, who in addition to leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl also took San Francisco to two further NFC Championship games, only for his hugely successful spell to come to an end after an 8-8 year in 2014.

San Francisco's roster appears a mess through poor draft choices and an passive approach with free agency.

Baalke has admitted to his failures with the quarterback position. Following their Super Bowl season, Baalke engineered a trade that sent Alex Smith to Kansas City in 2013. The 49ers made the playoffs with Colin Kaepernick as the full-time starter, but he has regressed since. Smith has not had a losing season in Kansas City, taking the Chiefs to the playoffs in three of his four seasons.

Kaepernick is just one of three quarterbacks drafted by Baalke, who also selected South Florida's B.J. Daniels in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. Daniels is now a practice squad wide receiver with the Falcons. The 49ers took Louisiana Tech's Jeff Driskel in the sixth round of the 2016 draft, but he was released after training camp and is now the third-string quarterback for the Bengals.

 

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