49ers' GM search is down to two

Although Trent Baalke remains the favorite to become the 49ers' GM, former Raiders executive Michael Lombardi, who has close ties to Jim Harbaugh, is still being considered.

The San Francisco 49ers' choice for general manager is apparently down to two people – Trent Baalke and Michael Lombardi – and the one who gets the job is the one who can deliver Jim Harbaugh.

As Scout.com reported Sunday, Lombardi, a former Oakland Raiders personnel executive who now works for NFL Network, has close ties to Harbaugh and has possibly spoken with the Stanford coach about the 49ers position.

As much as team president Jed York is focused on hiring a general manager, he's even more intent on bringing Harbaugh into the fold as the successor to the fired Mike Singletary. If Lombardi can do that, York will strongly consider hiring him.

It's not just the Harbaugh connection that makes Lombardi attractive, however. Lombardi has exceptional connections throughout the NFL, is still respected for his knowledge of personnel and worked for the 49ers as a scout under coach Bill Walsh from 1984-87.

Harbaugh was the Raiders quarterbacks coach in 2002-03 when Lombardi handled the team's personnel.

It's possible that York believes he can still keep Baalke on the payroll as a personnel director if Lombardi is hired as GM. However, according to a source, Lombardi would not accept a position with the organization and work under Baalke's command. At this point, Baalke still has the edge for the job.

How soon will something happen? Perhaps by the end of the week, but with Harbaugh now finished with his Stanford commitments and other teams (Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins) showing interest, it's probable York will act quickly and could have his GM in place by Wednesday.

In another coaching development, 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky will interview for the Carolina Panthers' head coaching vacancy, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.


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