Very few people were impressed last year when Trent Baalke got the GM job. Jed York promised a nationwide search and in the end opted for status quo. Baalke did not have a lot of experience and 49er fans were less than impressed with his hiring.
Baalke’s first draft raised a lot of questions as his choices did not have the Wow factor, especially first round pick, Aldon Smith. Then both Baalke and the fans had to wait out the endless 2011 Lockout summer before his performance could be evaluated in Free Agency. The first week of FA came and went without a single transaction, and fans were howling for his scalp.
Since that moment, Baalke’s star has risen dramatically. His draft choices played key roles in the 2011 season, Aldon became a Rookie of the Year candidate, his FA acquisitions solidified the secondary, the players he allowed to leave were superceded in play by the ones he kept, and the historic 2011 season was the result.
Not bad for an opening act. As Baalke heads into his second offseason as GM, there are few if any detractors left standing.
About the only player Baalke brought in who didn’t pan out was WR Braylon Edwards. Edwards looked great in Traing Camp and Preseason, then got injured in the second game and was never a factor the rest of the year. When Josh Morgan also went down in the fifth game, the 49er WR corp became a season long underachieving mess, with only Michael “Enigma” Crabtree providing any semblance of skill.
As we wait for the Less Than Super Bowl to blare its way off the stage, Baalke’s agenda this offseason seems clear. Re-sign a few important players and find us a scary WR.
Easier said than done, no doubt, but in Baalke we now trust. Until we don’t. Which will hopefully not be this year. Ten years from now would be okay, in lieu of never. Just as long as it isn’t this year. We need that WR.