Well, that was quick.
Multiple sources began reporting on Saturday that the San Francisco 49ers are expected to fire head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.
San Francisco is expected to make sweeping changes, dismissing both HC Chip Kelly and GM Trent Baalke, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2017
ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote that the team will hold a meeting after the 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, meaning that Kelly will have one hell of an awkward afternoon on the sidelines. However, it’s pretty much exactly what Jim Harbaugh went through in 2014 and Jim Tomsula in 2015 as both were basically expected to be fired before the season finale took place those years.
San Francisco is 2-13 under Kelly this year, their worst record since 2004. That year they went 2-14 and then drafted Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers in the following draft. This time they are expected to pick second overall after the Cleveland Browns, but as far as who the GM will be when that happens, it seems it won’t be Baalke.
Baalke took over as VP of Player Personnel in 2010 and was officially GM in 2011. The team went 36-11-1 between 2011-2013 but 7-24 since firing Harbaugh (and keeping Baalke instead, inconceivably) following the 2014 season.
This means that two NFC West teams will be looking for new head coaches. The LA Rams are looking to start anew at that job after firing Jeff Fisher, but they might also fire GM Les Snead following their season finale with the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Cardinals may face a new beginning as well, since head coach Bruce Arians is apparently exploring the idea of retirement due to health issues. It’s a real time of transition for the division, but luckily for the Seahawks they are stable at head coach despite Pete Carroll being the oldest in the NFL (until someone hires Tom Coughlin that is). They also signed Carroll and GM John Schneider to extensions last offseason.
Seattle needs to beat San Francisco on Sunday and hope that the New Orleans Saints upset the Atlanta Falcons in order for the Seahawks to claim the number two seed. The 49ers having the distraction of Kelly’s future could make them more vulnerable, but then again, you’re also going against someone who has nothing to lose.
If nothing else, it could get interesting.