How’s this for an offseason?
- “Mutually” part ways with Jim Harbaugh
- Replace Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Vic Fangio with Jim Tomsula, Geep Chryst and Eric Mangini
- Sign a rugby player from Australia
- Sign Darnell Dockett, a 33-year-old coming off an ACL tear whose social media antics makes Anthony Davis look like Buster Posey
- Sign Jerome Simpson, a vertical threat at wide receiver
They’re trolling us, right? That last move seems particularly odd — at least in terms of timing — considering what Jed York said on Dec. 29 during the we-just-parted-ways-with-Harbs press conference.
“Our mission is very simple: the San Francisco 49ers win with class. We haven’t won, and I don’t think we’ve conducted ourselves with the level of class that I expect of our organization. We’ve had off-the-field issues. That’s going to happen in sports. The level that it’s happened here is not unacceptable.”
#49ers announce they’ve signed WR Jerome Simpson to two-year deal. Simpson has been arrested three times since 2012.
— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) March 5, 2015
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) March 5, 2015
“You need to make sure people are accountable. That’s up to me. We might not win the Super Bowl every year, but we can conduct ourselves with class. And we can conduct ourselves in a way that makes me proud. I’ll put that on me.” — York during the same press conference.
Asked Jed York about 49ers signing thrice-arrested Jerome Simpson. He said “You have to ask Trent. I don’t know what the thinking was.”
— Ann Killion (@annkillion) March 6, 2015
For all the talk about what needed to be fixed, Baalke isn’t going to change his M.O. for anyone. That even includes York, apparently. It was obvious before the 49ers signed Jerome Simpson that Baalke never gave a rat’s derriere about off-the-field issues. Beyond the constant support for Aldon Smith, Baalke is a collector of bargain bin free agents with character concerns, including Perrish Cox, Eric Wright and Chris Cook.
Baalke is also obsessed with potentially striking gold on a veteran receiver who missed the previous season. Randy Moss didn’t play in 2011. Brandon Lloyd didn’t play in 2013. Simpson sat out the 2014 season. If Reggie Wayne doesn’t hook on with another team this year, look for the 49ers to sign him next March.
But it’s also obvious that these themes of “class” and being held “accountable,” which were mentioned repeatedly by York on Dec 29, were about Harbaugh and Harbaugh alone. Most of what York said about the public at large holding him accountable was in relation to championships. (His opening statement included, “We raise Super Bowl banners. And whenever we don’t deliver that, I hope that you will hold me directly responsible and accountable for it.”) Firing Harbaugh after an 8-8 year was York taking accountability for the team’s failure to win the Super Bowl.
Meanwhile, class has nothing to do with Ray McDonald or Aldon Smith (although York seemed to lay some blame on Harbaugh for how those players were handled). Class is likely about how Harbaugh acted on the sideline and in the team’s facility. This was about tobacco spit, overly strong backslaps and GIF-worthy sideline tantrums directed at officials, not minimizing the chances that players will end up getting booked for a misdemeanor or felony.
Oh, and money. It’s always about money.
The 49ers are all about giving people second (or third, or fourth) chances, it would appear. But that only applies to players without other options, who’ll humbly bow their heads and promise to do better, and don’t cost much in comparison to men with comparable skills. Not coaches with plenty of options who drive the bosses crazy, all while making a considerable amount of money and pushing for even more.