The ongoing shake-up within the crumbling 49ers franchise continues, and where it stops, only team owner Jed York seems to know.
On Friday, it was announced that longtime York associate Paraag Marathe will be stripped of his team president title at the end of the season. At that time, the 38-year-old Marathe will be primarily involved with the Sacramento Republic FC Soccer team, in which the the 49ers became a minority investor earlier this year. The minor league franchise hopes to join the MLS eventually, but that’s not likely to happen until the 2020 season at the earliest.
Al Guido will be promoted from COO to team president, where he will concentrate on business operations and less on football matters.
Marathe served as a salary-cap expert and lead negotiator in player contracts, duties that he will share with administration director Brian Hampton on a lesser scale. He also headed the analytics department.
In a staff memo that was distributed to the media, York said, “By now I am sure most of you have seen reports of some transition in our front office, and I apologize that we were unable to communicate with you directly prior to certain information reaching the media. Our original intent was to formalize the transition following the Super Bowl.
“As many of you may have seen in recent months, Paraag and Al’s roles within the organization have been evolving.
“In addition to his longstanding responsibilities in football operations as the team’s chief contract negotiator and head of our analytics department, Paraag has chosen to take a leadership role in the organization’s new ventures efforts. As you know, Paraag has been the lead in our partnership with the Sacramento Republic FC soccer team and was instrumental in developing and launching VenueNext. We anticipate great things to come from our new ventures wing as it continues to grow.
“With Paraag focusing so much time and energy on new business opportunities, Al has taken the lead on the day-to-day business operations of the team and Levi’s Stadium.
“Despite how some have chosen to portray this transition in the media, I want you to know that Paraag has been and will continue to be an instrumental member of this organization. Without his contributions over the last 15 years, the successes achieved by this organization would not have been possible.
Marathe was a pioneer in football metrics, and the lack of production on the field in the last two seasons might have had a bearing on the decision.
Even though Marathe never played or coached football at the upper levels, he was allowed to offer suggestions to former coaches Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh and current head man Jim Tomsula. His responsibilities extended to input on television replays and whether or not to challenge referees’ calls in games.
But the meddling reportedly did more harm than good in terms of chemistry. The coaches were more inclined to rely on their experience and instincts than raw numbers, and as a result, they frequently clashed with Marathe on philosophies.
In particular, Marathe and the more conservative Harbaugh often were at odds over play selection and game strategy, a conflict that extended to York and general manager Trent Baalke eventually. The higher-ups frequently sided with Marathe, which further widened the chasm between the coach and front office.
Tomsula denied a report that he failed to show up at Levi’s Stadium earlier in the week because of friction with Marathe.
“That is absolutely false, and I was at work,” Tomsula said. “What day was that? What day did this happen?”
Told that it was Wednesday, Tomsula explained that he had left the facility in the morning for an unspecified reason before returned later.
As for the possibility the he and Marathe had irreconcilable differences, Tomsula said, “Absolutely false. Untrue.”