Here is my Wednesday column.
Here is the current stock report of six prominent 49er figures, letting you know if their stock is up or down.
Jim Harbaugh: Stock down
For eight consecutive years, his stock was up, up, up. That trend ended Jan. 19, the day Harbaugh lost the NFC Championship to the Seahawks the same way he lost the Super Bowl to the Ravens the season before — failing in the red zone.
Things got worse for Harbaugh. Reports emerged that he wanted a contract extension, a raise, and more power. Reports emerged that he didn’t get along with the general manager, Trent Baalke, and that some veterans on the team were tiring of Harbaugh. Reports emerged that the 49ers almost traded him to Football Siberia — the Cleveland Browns.
According to one report, the 49ers would have promoted defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach if they had traded Harbaugh to the Browns.
The only way Harbaugh can make his stock surge is to coach the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory before his contract expires after the 2015-2016 season.
Of course, Harbaugh denied wanting a contract extension, denied almost getting traded, denied the existence of any serious friction between him and Baalke. Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated he has “great respect for (Baalke),” and that “if you haven’t had a brother, you probably don’t understand the relationship between the GM and the head coach.”
Was Harbaugh referring to the relationship between Cain and Abel, or some other brothers?
Jim Tomsula: Stock up
Tomsula is the primary beneficiary of Harbaugh’s stock going down. If Harbaugh fails to win a Super Bowl the next two seasons or if the 49ers trade him tomorrow, Tomsula would be the favorite to become their next head coach.
Tomsula has coached the 49ers’ defensive line the past seven seasons. He’s one of the best D-line coaches in the NFL. Players love him. He could get the 49ers to play hard, and he would have a much lower stock price than Harbaugh.
Jed York: Stock down
Started out as a penny stock in 2008 when his parents made him the president of the 49ers. The day they made him president, he hired Mike Singletary to be the head coach. And the penny stock became a junk bond.
It remained junk until 2011, when York landed a new head coach — Harbaugh. The 49ers started winning and York became a blue-chip stock over night. Now, the stock is starting to plummet again.
York could not have handled this offseason any worse.
Both NBC and ESPN reported that the 49ers almost traded Harbaugh to the Browns. Jed York denied the whole thing, tweeting, “Report isn’t true.” But then the Browns’ owner, Jimmy Haslam, confirmed to USA Today that the essence of the report was true, saying, “There was an opportunity there, and it didn’t materialize.”
It was NBC’s, ESPN’s and Haslam’s word against York’s.
So, York had to double back and change his story: Well, actually, the Browns did inquire about trading for Harbaugh, but the 49ers “had no interest in entering those discussions,” York said.
If that is true, York should have held a press conference and explained his side of the story from the beginning. A good owner controls the narrative of his team. York is controlling nothing. He is allowing the 49ers’ narrative to become a soap opera.
Anquan Boldin: Stock up
York didn’t take control of the 49ers’ narrative, so Boldin did. He recently told Bay Area reporters, “I don’t think anybody in the locker room has an issue with Coach Harbaugh.” Sticking up for his coach, doing what a good teammate does, asserting himself as a leader.
Boldin’s stock couldn’t be any higher. He’s becoming the voice of the franchise, he just signed a two-year, $12 million contract extension, and he was the best offensive player in the NFL last year — better than Peyton Manning, according to AdvancedNFLstats.com.
A bona fide blue-chipper.
Colin Kaepernick: Stock down
Kaepernick thinks he’s a blue-chip, top-five great quarterback in the NFL and wants to be paid $20 million a year, according to CBSsports.com.
Kaepernick is not a blue-chip, top-five great quarterback.
It is not possible to become a great quarterback after just 29 starts, including the playoffs. Russell Wilson — a better quarterback than Kaepernick — has started 37 games and won a Super Bowl. Not a great quarterback yet.
A great quarterback has an extended track record of success, makes other players better and has no significant weaknesses in his game. Kaepernick has not started two full seasons, does not make other players better and has significant weaknesses in his game — accuracy, footwork, touch, anticipation, and overall effectiveness in the red zone.
And before he improves those weaknesses, he wants to be paid more money than every quarterback except Aaron Rodgers.
Beware of Kaepernick’s IPO (Initial Public Offering).
Trent Baalke: Stock up
He is standing his ground. He has not allowed Kaepernick or Harbaugh to shake down the franchise. Baalke has a position — the 49ers are an elite franchise, so they don’t have to overpay anyone. Not the coach. Not the quarterback.
As long as Baalke holds his ground, his stock goes up, up, up. If he gives in, sell.
Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for the Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.