Michael Zagaris-Getty Images

Michael Zagaris-Getty Images



Paraag Marathe is the chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations of the San Francisco 49ers. For years, no one really understood what that meant and, to some degree, that may remain true today. Marathe was known as the 49ers' "salary cap guy." As far as fans knew, he simply took care of the players' contracts and no one had any issues with that.

The problem occurred when information started to leak that Marathe was embedding himself within other aspects of the team. It reportedly created a conflict with numerous coaching staffs who were trying to figure out what Marathe was doing in places they felt should have been off-limits – like coaches meetings or even in the interview room during coaching searches.

In January, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee described it as follows during a podcast interview:

"The issue with Paraag among coaches and GMs is when he starts to sit in on the football meetings and they are like, 'Why is the non-football guy part of this meeting?' ... If Paraag is sticking to the things that he's good at, I don't think there's any issue with him. The issues have come up in the past when he's dabbling with football-related matters."

The view of Marathe from fans has changed over the offseason. Most of that is due to his role in the 49ers' draft war room in April. Peter King of TheMMQB was embedded in that draft war room through all three days of the annual rookie selection process. Marathe was absolutely critical to the 49ers' success over the draft, helping to wheel and deal in trades. He was vital to the team's success in trading down one spot at the top of round one and still selecting Solomon Thomas and was again vital in the process of moving back up into the end of the first round to select Reuben Foster.

King said the following during an interview with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area for his podcast:

"I think there's a decent chance that without Paraag, really, prodding, goading, continually calling (Seattle Seahawks general manager) John Schneider, that the Niners would not have obtained the 31st pick in the draft..."

Larry Krueger of KNBR joined us on the "No Huddle" podcast and discussed Marathe even further and the relationship that the member of 49ers management had with previous regimes. He also shared how that relationship appears to be different with new general manager John Lynch.



"Paraag is a smart guy," Krueger said. "He's going to be present. He's a major part of the 49ers brass. And yet, Baalke, I think wanted to minimize him and Jim Harbaugh wanted to minimize him. And Chip Kelly maybe worked with him better than those guys did. There was always just kind of this uncomfortable nature. 'What's Paraag's role? Is he spying on people? Does he have a use?'

"I think John Lynch came in, saw that relationship was one that's not going away and so he saw it as, 'I need to make this work. But more than that, I need to utilize what this guy can do.' And I think it's been pretty clear this year in the draft and I think it's going to be clear in the years ahead that Paraag – he's not John McVay as a football man, but he may be John McVay-like as far as engineering deals in and around the draft.

"And I think they finally now have Paraag in a role where he feels good about what he's contributing, Jed feels good about what he's contributing, they're not minimizing him and putting him in a corner, they're not paranoid about his presence, and they found his greatest strengths and they're really getting the most out of it and I think it's put everybody at ease."

During his discussion with Al Sacco and Zain Naqvi of the "No Huddle" podcast, Krueger echoed the sentiments of King regarding Marathe's value in the draft.

"He can do things that Kyle (Shanahan) and John (Lynch) can't," Krueger said, "and yet he's not a football guy so they obviously have strengths and knowledge of the game that he's never going to get to. And I just think everybody's really comfortable right now with his role and I think since he's always there as a powerful presence, I thought that was really key."

What is Marathe's role with the 49ers now? Krueger shared his thoughts on that, as well.

"I think his role is capologist and negotiator of deals and trying to optimize value in the draft," Krueger said. "I thought their war room this year with the way they moved around – we'll see if the players wind up being good – but I liked the maneuvering and I thought it all made sense and I thought they got good value. And that's all Paraag."