Jed York’s grip on the 49ers may come to an end

The 49ers may be giving their fans the gift that they’ve all been waiting for this holiday season — a new beginning.

After claiming on Sunday that he believes Trent Baalke will be removed as general manager, CBS’ Jason La Canfora joined KNBR’s Gary and Larry show today to state that CEO Jed York may also be in the 49ers crosshairs.

“Jed would be out. He wouldn’t be involved in football operations. I mean you can get cute with titles. You can do whatever you think you have to do. But the premise would be, the top of the pyramid would be this person they bring in, to effectively be running the football operation.”

La Canfora added:

“It would more to shift things away from again Jed being sort of the face of all things 49ers football. You would have in the future, let’s ponder future press conferences. It wouldn’t be Jed and (Trent) Baalke and the coach. It would be somebody else, the coach and the GM.”

From the sound of it, York wouldn’t be “out” of the 49ers organization entirely, but he would lose the hands-on approach that he’s taken in recent years while dealing with the business side of the team.

La Canfora expanded on this further, saying:

“They would extensively hire someone to actually run the football operations on a day-to-day basis.There would be someone there, whether it’s Mike Shanahan or whomever — who may then themselves decide I should be the coach and executive vice president of football operations. But at the very least, there would be someone there, a football man, atop the entire personnel pyramid, who would essentially be a team president / head of football ops, making the day-to-day decisions on the way things operate.”

In summary, Baalke would be completely gone, York would be relegated to some other role, most likely managing Levi’s Stadium and the team’s brand,  and 49ers team would have a chance to secure someone who cares about what the team is first-and-foremost about: football.

As with all “reports,” this should be taken with a huge grain of salt. The concept of York being demoted to a lesser role isn’t a move that the 49ers would make lightly. Especially since the final say to do so would come from his parents, Dr. John and Denise York.

But parents are forced to put their foot down every now and then, and after what’s befallen on the 49ers, this hardly seems like a brash move.

Under York and Baalke’s watch, the team has crumbled from being consistent Super Bowl contenders from the 2011 to 2013 seasons, to being in line to snag the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.

Bad drafts, the inability to attract talent due to character concerns in the front office, a new stadium far from the namesake-city of the team and a franchise focus that is seemingly more on entertainment options than the football brand are just some of the reasons that the 49ers have sunk to such lows while disenchanting their fan base.

Bringing in an outsider, someone who is “a football man,” is the move that the 49ers need to make at this point, as recent years have proven that whatever’s going on in Santa Clara just isn’t working out.

Mike Shanahan’s name has been tossed around the 49ers organization for a while, originally being mentioned as a candidate to fill the vacant coaching position when Jim Harbaugh was fired. And it makes sense.

Shanahan has a proven track record in the NFL, and a Super Bowl past with the 49ers during his stint as offensive coordinator for the team.

But for every report, there’s another one to denounce it. And this time the buzzkill is Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, 

According to Florio, none of the above changes are gonna happen. York will still be in charge of the football operations for the 49ers, John and Denise will stay behind the scenes, and Shanahan will remain just a memory for 49ers fans.

In fact, Florio even goes as far as to implicate Shanahan in helping to spread the initial report by La Canfora, saying

“the CBS report likely originated from an effort by Shanahan to get his name in circulation as the offseason carousel begins to spin. He has made no secret of his desire to get back in the NFL, but to date he has found no takers.”

As if the 49ers weren’t dramatic enough for you already, it appears as if a “source” war is breaking out in the national media around the team as well.

My advice, hope for the best, but like all things having to do with the 49ers, expect the worst.


Shawn Whelchel is SFBay’s San Francisco 49ers beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShawnWhelchel on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of 49ers football.