For his sake and that of the team, coach Chip Kelly should be one and done in Santa Clara. As we saw again on Sunday, when the New Orleans Saints became the latest visitors to mistake the 49ers for a welcome mat, his ways don’t translate in the pro game.
But forget the speculation about his early departure and take this to the bank — Kelly will be back next season. And the one after that and probably the one after that.
History tells us that that Kelly follows the money trail. That was a primary motivation to pull up stakes at Oregon and head to the Philadelphia Eagles six years ago. The move came with an annual $2.7 million pay raise.
Kelly is in the first year of a four-year, $24 million contract that puts him among the highest-paid coaches in the league. Consider that the guy still doesn’t have a postseason victory on his NFL resume, and his contract amounts to one of the biggest Brinks jobs in the league. A return to Oregon or any other college would represent a quantum step back both financially and image-wise.
Kelly wants more than money, though. He also wants a major say in personnel matters, something he does not have at the moment.
When Kelly came abroad last spring, he inherited general manager Trent Baalke and a Triple-A roster. Can you blame the guy if he wants to do it his way with his people? Specifically, that means player personnel director Tom Gamble, with whom he became buddies while with the Eagles for two years.
So don’t put it past Kelly to have planted the seeds of doubt the last few weeks. He wields the leverage here. The organization still owes $7 million to predecessor Jim Tomsula for the next two seasons. No way does CEO Jed York want to hire a third coach in as many years.
Expect Gamble to replace Baalke after the season. Didn’t Balls tell you as much when Kelly took the job last spring. See, that’s how the game is played, and Kelly plays it about as well as anyone.
LOTS OF LUCK: Raiders ownership has a different kind of dilemma — what to do with Derek Carr and his future.
In his third season, Carr has emerged as franchise quarterback. Not surprisingly, the front office would like to sign him to a long-term contract sooner than later.
But as the Indianapolis Colts have discovered, this is tricky business. Last spring they signed Andrew Luck to a five-year, $122 million contract extension of which $89 million was guaranteed. Only months later, general Ryan Grigson blamed the contract for the inability to build a competent defense.
Uh, ‘scuse Balls, but didn’t Grigson negotiate the deal?
Let that be a lesson for Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and company. Likewise, theirs is a one-dimensional team that has to outscore opponents to be successful. For that to change, they will have to draft better at the other side of the ball. Carr won’t get Luck money yet, but he’ll get a lot of it. And the margin for error will be that much less.
SAME TIME, LAST SEASON: The Pittsburgh Penguins embarrassed the Sharks in a rematch of the last Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday, 5-0, and they were the quicker, faster, deeper team once again.
Oh, and this came after coach Peter DeBoer had called a team meeting.
If it took 25 years for the Sharks to get a sniff of the best trophy in sports, then Balls has to wonder if it will be take 25 more for them to get another one.
SIMPLY THE BEST: Too bad Sidney Crosby plays in San Jose only once in the regular season. Because there’s no better face of his sport than the Penguins’ captain on and off the field.
JUST SAYIN’: Logan Couture (as in immature) has a serious case of Crosby envy, so predictably, the pouty Shark refused to give him and his team any credit for the blowout victory.
Hey, if Couture can’t grow a pair, then he should switch to baseball.
THE LIST: Five reasons why the final game of the Word Series wasn’t the epic Game 7 that some seamheads tried to make it out to be …
1. The big-market team with the $185 million payroll (Chicago Cubs) beat the mid-market team with the $116 million payroll (Cleveland Indians). Drama? What drama?
2. Domestic violence loser Aroldis Chapman was lit up but still received credit for the victory.
3. The teams combined for four errors. That didn’t include the many that managers Joe Maddon and Terry Francona were guilty of.
4. Cleveland’s best closer could only watch in a stadium suite, name of LeBron James.
5. The game lasted four hours, 28 minutes and finished at 12:36 a.m. (Eastern). Yep, young fans were outta luck again.
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