49ers owner Jed York announced in a conference call commencing at 8:00 p.m. ET Monday that Scot McCloughan is no longer the General Manager of the team.
York also announced that director of player personnel Trent Baalke will run the 49ers’ draft, that he’ll have final say as to any picks or trades, and that director of pro personnel Tom Gamble will assist Baalke.
Though York said that director of college scouting David McCloughan will remain at least through the draft, the fact that Gamble and not David McCloughan will assist Baalke implies that the relationship between the McCloughan brothers is at least disrupting the logical flow that otherwise would apply, since the draft falls within David McCloughan’s usual responsibilities, not Gamble’s.
York characterized the departure of McCloughan on multiple occasions as a “mutual parting,” refusing consistently to discuss the details of the move and explaining that he promised McCloughan that he wouldn’t comment on the matter for five days from last Wednesday.
The buzz words were “private personnel matter,” which at one point took on a “next question” vibe, eliciting exasperated laughter on at least two occasions from a couple of the reporters on the call. Eventually, York admitted that the “personnel” issues arose only from a “personal” situation. Still, he refused to get into the details.
York cited his own “integrity” multiple times in support of the decision not
to divulge details, but we think the reality is that York was concerned more about liability than integrity. In our view, based on listening to the entire conference call, it sounds as if the 49ers gave McCloughan on Wednesday five days to consider whatever settlement offer the team had made, and that a deal was reached today, pursuant to which both sides promised full confidentiality.
York eventually conceded that McCloughan will not be permitted to work for another team before the draft, which tends to confirm our view that a settlement was reached.
York also denied that the move will affect the 49ers during the draft. “Trent has all the information that we need,” York said.
Moving forward, York said he’s undecided regarding whether another G.M. will be named, and that decisions will be made regarding the structure of the front office after the draft. York said unequivocally that neither he nor V.P. of football operations Paraag Marathe would become the next General Manager.
While York declined to get into details regarding the separation, he agreed to answer a question as to what he’d say if someone were to ask York for a recommendation regarding McCloughan. “Scot is a very good personnel guy, and I care about Scot from a personal standpoint, and I hope he can get a job somewhere. I hope for nothing but the best for Scot and his family,” York said.
Still, the existence of something other than best wishes lingers not far beneath the surface. Asked early in the call how he’d describe McCloughan’s legacy, York said tersely, “You’d have to ask him.”