Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard was the first, second, and third choice of the 49ers for the still-vacant G.M. position. The interest wasn’t mutual.
Ballard feels differently about the G.M. job in Indianapolis. And for good reason. The Colts: (1) have a franchise quarterback; and (2) don’t have a non-ownership, non-football executive who is involved in football operations without the same accountability to which football employees are subject.
As to the 49ers’ job, Ballard wasn’t inclined to interview. Technically, the Chiefs exercised their prerogative to deny permission because the team’s season had not yet ended. As to the Colts’ job, Ballard is indeed interested and will proceed.
The depth and quality of the G.M. candidates in Indianapolis make it less likely that Jimmy Raye III will be promoted from within the organization, assuming that the G.M. comes in with full control over the roster and the ability to change coaches after 2017, if the G.M. sees fit to do so.
Yes, owner Jim Irsay can be a handful. But the bar is currently low in Indianapolis and the space is ready for a variety of banners to be raised. With the most important position in pro football filled for years to come, the task of building a true contender should be easier than it would have been, say, in San Francisco.