Eliot Wolf looks on during Packers practice (Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Eliot Wolf looks on during Packers practice (Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)



The first step toward recovery is admitting you have a problem. As 2016 comes to a merciful end, the San Francisco 49ers definitely have problems. In the NFL, it doesn't get much worse than a 13 game losing streak, at least outside of Cleveland. Hitting rock bottom will hopefully be a catalyst for large-scale changes, possibly even a complete overhaul of the football operations of the franchise.

The most important change of the upcoming offseason will be at general manager. The selection of who is in charge of the 53-man roster will be a hugely significant move made by the York family that will shape the on-field product for years to come. It's time to look completely outside of the organization to a fresh set of eyes to guide the 49ers out of the substantial hole they've dug for themselves.

With current GM Trent Baalke's firing all but assured, rumors have slowly started to circulate regarding who might be willing and qualified to take over the GM duties. The name that seems to pop up the most, for obvious reasons, is current assistant GM Tom Gamble. It's hard to say if Gamble was brought back to the team two years ago to put a bit of heat on Baalke. It's also hard to say what portion of the roster Gamble has had a part in assembling over the last two years. But it is safe to say that the 49ers roster is not very good. Anyone who has fingerprints on this current roster should not be the person to chart a new course for the future. It's time to burn this whole current regime to the ground and completely start over.

The best place to start a GM search outside of the organization is to shake the Ron Wolf tree. Current GM's from Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle, Washington and Green Bay all once worked under Wolf for the Packers. Those teams have a combined record of 49-24-2 in 2016. The person who has been around Wolf the longest is his son, Eliot, the current director of football operations for Green Bay. Most experts seem to think Wolf is next in line to take over the Packers when current GM Ted Thompson, who will be 64 in a few weeks, retires. Nonetheless, Albert Breer of The MMQB has connected the 49ers to the younger Wolf.

Other top-shelf potential targets include Chiefs VP of player personnel Chris Ballard, Patriots VP of player personnel Nick Caserio and Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer. A new approach is vital in reshaping the 49ers identity and what better candidate to lead the team in a new direction then execs who have learned directly under the GM's of the premier organizations in the NFL.

The manner in which the franchise has been operating over the last three seasons has caused this epic tailspin they are currently in the middle of. A new GM with an entirely new way of thinking could energize the fan base or at the very least give it a glimmer of hope. From a fans perspective, it would be nice to have an offseason to look forward to when the team actually signs a few quality free agents, drafts a wide receiver in the first 100 picks and no draftee has any career-threatening injuries before they even set foot in Santa Clara.

The last time the 49ers went outside of the organization for a GM was in 2005 when they hired Scot McCloughan from Seattle. McCloughan brought a fresh approach to a team coming off of a 2-14 2004 season. 2005 was also the last time the 49ers have had a pick in the top five of the draft. Couple that with projected salary cap space being as high as $87 million and this is a very significant offseason in the reshaping of the roster. The 49ers cannot afford to get this hire wrong.