With one week left before the beginning of Free Agency, the 49ers have yet to re-sign any of their 12 pending free agents. That’s 23% of last year’s season ending roster in danger of going bye-bye.
Of course, some of last year’s roster was on IR, including Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore, the heir apparents to Justin Smith and Frank Gore. This might be Justin’s last year with the team, but it most certainly is Gore’s final go around — his 10th year as a 49er, which fittingly qualifies him for a place in the Niners’ Ten Year Club.
There are a lot of guys in the Ten Year Club from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80, and ’90s, but since 2000 only Bryant Young and Jeff Ulbrich have made it, with LS Brian Jennings soon to be included, too. A testimony to lousy teams and the salary cap.
There’s a lot of intrigue at 49ers HQ these days, and it appears the “rats” have returned to the building after a three year hiatus. The latest pointy-faced, long tailed rodentarial “source” reports that Jim Harbaugh is losing the locker room and that “franchise face” players are getting tired of his act.
This is probably a good sign. After all, the whole “we’re a family” bit went out the window in 2012 when Harbaugh tossed Alex Smith off the bus like a used condom. From that moment on the slogan “Who’s got it better than us!” was nothing but a hollow bit of blah-biddy-blah. With Seattle and the Ravens holding the last two Lombardis, the slogan has become eyeball-rolling bullshit. This is pro ball. Good teams don’t need to like their boss or carry a set of pom poms in their back pockets. They just need to win games. More specifically, they need to win that LAST game.
There’s been speculation that Jed York may eventually have to choose between Harbaugh and Trent Baalke. John Madden has weighed in saying it’s harder to find a coach than a suit. That’s probably true, but it overlooks the fact that York is a suit, too. And suits tend to stick together.
This offseason drama is exactly what you get when you have three shots to win the SB and fail all three times. Harbaugh is not a media favorite, or a league favorite, or a referee favorite, or probably even a family favorite. Now he’s supposedly not a player favorite, either. The pressure is building on the Jimbo. And the immutable law of media is coming to the land: if you’re bleeding, even slightly, the vultures will start gathering on the telephone wires.
It took Pete Carroll four years to win a SB. It took Mike Nolan four years to get booted out of town. Which way wendeth the Harbaugh man in his fateful fourth year?