The 49ers dealt Kentwan Balmer, and at the same time dealt him the ultimate insult. They traded the disgruntled defensive end within the division today, to the Seattle Seahawks, effectively suggesting they don’t believe he can help swing the balance of power in the NFC West.
Balmer, a first-round draft choice in 2008, reportedly netted just a sixth-round pick two years later. At that, it may be a conditional pick.
Balmer disappeared from the practice field Monday afternoon. The next morning, coach Mike Singletary said the lineman was taking an excused absence. By Wednesday, the team was no longer excusing the absence. The 49ers sent Balmer a “five-day letter” warning him that he has five days to report or risk being placed on the reserve/left squad list, which would end his 2010 season.
The impasse was broken by the trade.
If the compensation seems low, it’s because other teams knew the 49ers had few options, and because Balmer never developed into the player the 49ers envisioned when they made him the seventh defensive lineman taken, and the 29th player overall, in 2008. He played in 27 games and made 40 tackles over two seasons. He never started, and did not record a sack.
During training camp, Balmer had been fighting for second-team repetitions with players like Demetric Evans and Derek Walker, neither of whom was drafted.
By landing in Seattle, Balmer enhances an intra-division rivalry made more intense this offseason by a perceived tiff between Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and his former USC star Taylor Mays, now with the 49ers, and by the defections of Scot McCloughan, Jeff Ulbrich and Ken Norton Jr. (to Seattle) and Mike Solari (to San Francisco).