The 49ers entered the process of searching for a G.M. with one primary target in mind: Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard. He was, as one source put it, San Francisco’s “first choice, second choice, and third choice” for the position.
Reports that Ballard wouldn’t interview for the job created the impression that he declined. Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the Chiefs actually decided not to grant permission for the interview.
For G.M. positions, a team can block interviews of front-office employees until the playoff runs ends. It’s an odd contrast to the rule for coaching jobs, which permits assistant coaches to be interviewed before their current teams’ seasons end. Last year, for example, the Packers decided not to allow Eliot Wolf to interview for the G.M. job in Detroit until the Green Bay playoff run ended.
The 49ers could wait until the Chiefs’ season ends and try again. However, they’d have to wait at least another week. Even then, Ballard may not be interested in leaving Kansas City.