John York Chronicles & The Real Truth

Guest writer: Jimmy Page from 49ersNews message boards.

I will make the argument that he is the ONLY one in the “front office” doing things in completely good faith around here. I understand these contract numbers don’t tell the WHOLE story, but they tell about as much as you can know.

JANUARY 5TH, 2005: Fires Dennis Erickson and Terry Donahue after a horrible season and interviewing players / discovering Donahue’s corruption and laziness. Buys out remaining $7.5 million / 3 years on Erickson’s contract, his entire staff’s salaries, and Donahue’s GM salary.

~2 WEEKS LATER: After a thorough interview process and an investigation of how the top organizations in the league are structured, he hires Mike Nolan, a respected young defensive mind at the time. At best, you could say this was an unknown at the time. There was no argument against hiring him other than not really knowing what he would bring. Hearing him talk at the time, I probably would’ve hired him too, and so would you. Nolan signs 5 year, $8 million contract.

MARCH 4TH, 2005: Signs off on contract for OT Jonas Jennings. 7 years, $36 million, $12 million signing bonus.

JULY 27TH, 2005: Contract for #1 overall pick QB Alex Smith. 6 years, $49.5 million, $24 million guaranteed. A significant step up from the previous year’s #1, Eli Manning.

MARCH 7TH, 2006: Contract for LB Derek Smith. 3 years, $14 million, $6 million bonus.

SUMMER 2006: Contracts for TE Vernon Davis (5 years, $23 million, 15 million guaranteed) and LB Manny Lawson (5 years, $14 million).

JANUARY 2007: Contract extension and raise for Norv Turner, repotedly making him one of the top paid OC in the league in an attempt to keep him with the team.

MARCH 3RD, 2007: Contracts for CB Nate Clements (8 years, $80 million, $22 million guaranteed) and S Michael Lewis (6 years, $30 million, 10 million guaranteed).

MARCH 28TH, 2007: Contract extension for RB Frank Gore. 5 years, $28 million, $14 million guaranteed.

SUMMER 2007: Contracts for LB Patrick Willis (5 years, $16 million, $12 million guaranteed) and OT Joe Staley (5 years, $8 million, 5.6 million guaranteed). Another year with two first round contracts.

JANUARY 2ND, 2008: Strips Nolan of GM duties after grilling/near-firing. Probably York’s one mistake in this timeframe – but you can see the argument that was made, and while I wouldn’t have given him another chance, he wanted to make this work. So Mike Martz was hired and a second chance was received.

FEBRUARY 27TH, 2008: Contract for DT Isaac Sopoaga. 4 years, $20 million, $8 million bonus.

MARCH 2ND, 2008: Contract for DE/OLB Justin Smith. 6 years, $45 million, $20 million guaranteed.

IN SUMMARY: John York has clearly been spending freely and being proactive in trying to make this thing work. Mike Nolan was hired in good faith. Players have been acquired at a rate surpassing any other team in the league as far as I know. Extensions have been given to players who’ve needed them.

Where I suppose you can fault him is giving Nolan another crack at it this year…I would’ve been more ruthless in cutting him loose and getting a new coach in here. But he was so hasty to fire Erickson that I don’t blame him for not wanting to get yet another coach just 3 years after that. It wasn’t right, but you can see where he was coming from.

As it stands, I believe Nolan WILL soon be fired and we will get another coach, hopefully one that’s a lot more respectable and logical in his decisions and gameplanning. And the next coach will be hired in good faith as well, though I believe York will be much more inclined to get someone with experience and league-wide respect.

Do you still want to DUMP YORK? Or is it Nolan that you want to dump and you’re just spilling your anger over to ownership, who hasn’t really done anything other than make huge efforts to give his young, once-respected hire every chance he can to succeed? Learn the facts.

York is probably the one guy who has held up his end of the bargain lately. Sorry to break that to you.

The Pundit of 49ersNews. I do what I can to supply the Niner fans with their fix.
  • ninerfaithful

    fuck get nolan out now i cant deal this losing anymore just when i think we have turn the corner we lose three straight one more loss guys we can start the talk of a top ten pick

  • 49er4life

    You forgot to mention the mistake of picking Alex Smith with the #1 pick. If we only had Aaron Rodgers…..

  • I don’t think York has really been a problem, per se. Since he hired Mike Nolan he’s done okay by me. When he fires Mike Nolan he will take another step up.

  • Danny

    No, Yorks only problem is that Nolan is still the head coach of this team. As you showed in your column, we have been spending a lot of money, and all that it has goten us is closer victories. Please, fire Nolan and give rollin with Nolan a whole new meaning. As in rollin out the door.

  • Niner Pundit

    49er4life….do you actually think Rodgers would have done anything in the 49ers offense. He would have faired better than Smith most likely, but he still would have had 4 OC’s in 4 years. And would not have got to sit behind Favre.

    And I hope you are talking about Nolan picking Smith and not York, because York has nothing to do with who they draft.


    As it stands right now, Nolan is a malignant tumor that is killing this franchise. The challenge fiasco says it all. He is totally incompetent. I would not be comfortable with Martz as the HC, even in the interim. The offensive playcalling in the 4th quarter was atrocious. If Singletary has any pull when it comes to this defense and they are still regressing like this, I don’t want him in there either. This whole goddamn situation is utterly pathetic. Nolan is a disgrace. I’m pissed.

  • James Jones

    It really is time to fire Nolan, there should be no question at all about that.

  • El Mobre

    You can say that it’s not York’s fault all you want, but look at what you wrote. The only moves I would agree with is the contracts for Gore, Clements and Willis. You can toss millions of dollars around all you want, but if it’s not going to the right spots, then it doesn’t mean anything. That leads me to believe that York doesn’t know a damn thing about football and shouldn’t be running an organization as prestigious/prideful as the San Francisco 49ers. Ask yourself something, what has York done for football other than give teams an easy win, since firing Mariucci?

  • Rob

    I think the problems with John York are/were:

    1. When he inherited the 49ers, he had no idea of what he was doing, as was evidenced by his unnecessary firing of Steve Mariucci, and hiring of Erickson, who probably did about as good of a coaching job as York would have done himself.

    2. When he inherited the 49ers, York had it in his mind he was going to “fix” the franchise from the problems of Eddie DeBartelo. And, while it’s true we were in bad shape with the salary cap, DeBartelo also won us a few Superbowls, so everything he did should not have been so quickly discarded.

    3. At first, York was unwilling to spend any money. But, I agree that he has gotten over that and realized that, in the NFL, you need to spend to get a successful franchise.

    So I agree that John York, while he has made some bad mistakes, is learning from his mistakes. Honestly, Nolan wasn’t an entirely bad pick. He brought it Scott McClouglan. And, while some people may argue with me on this, I feel he has done a good job of bringing talent back to this team. He also brought in Mike Singletary, who I personally feel should be the interim head coach for the rest of this season after Nolan’s firing, and possibly even our permanent HC. I think that, in the end, Nolan just wasn’t good at being a coach. Maybe he should try being a GM or something somewhere else, because coaching is just not his thing. But, you are right, he was very convincing when he first came here. Hopefully, York will learn from that mistake and put someone in place with some sort of credibility or track record. Which is exaclty why I feel Nolan should be fired now and Singletary should be the HC for the rest of the season to see how good he is.

    So, yes, York is learning how to do things right. Which hopefully means we will be winning again sooner instead of later.

  • marksmen

    I heard today on the radio tht in November the santa clara people voting to vote whether or notthe 49ers will build the stadium there, if tht doesnt happen the yorks maybe in 2011 or 2012 the Yorks will move the team down to L.A. and be called La 49ers if santa clara doesnt vote on having the stadium there