Colts hire Chris Ballard to be GM, leaving 49ers with only open spot

Jan 29, 2017 at 3:15 PM


Once again, the San Francisco 49ers are the only team with a general manager opening. The Indianapolis Colts have hired former Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard to be their new general manager. Indianapolis entered the hunt when they fired general manager Ryan Grigson on January 21 after five seasons with the team.


This is important to the 49ers because there was some overlap in interest between Indianapolis' general manager search and San Francisco's – most notably, Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, who interviewed with the Colts this past week. Paton is considered to be the frontrunner for the 49ers job and met again with the team and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is likely to be named the head coach following the Super Bowl, on Friday night and again on Saturday. The 49ers and Shanahan also met with Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough on Saturday.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik's name has also emerged as a possible third longshot candidate for the 49ers' general manager job. The team has only had discussions about Dominik and have not yet met with him, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. If the 49ers were interested in meeting with Dominik, it would likely be early this week. Maiocco reports that the 49ers hope to make a decision on the general manager opening during that timeframe with a candidate being hired by the middle of the week.

The 49ers did show interest in Ballard early in the search, but the Chiefs blocked the interview request. It was also assumed that Ballard had no interest in the opening in San Francisco. The Colts job offers more weapons on the roster, including at the quarterback position where the starter is Andrew Luck. Albert Breer of TheMMQ also reported that Ballard preferred to go to a smaller market and stay in the Midwest.

Prior to the hiring of Ballard, the Colts publicly committed to head coach Chuck Pagano for at least another year. Ballard is reportedly sticking to that plan and will work with Pagano in 2017.
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