SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Paraag Marathe won't be the 49ers' team president following the Super Bowl in Levi's Stadium in February.
According to CSN Bay Area, Marathe will remain San Francisco's chief salary cap specialist and contract negotiator, while focusing more on the York's enterprises outside of the 49ers, including a bid to turn the Sacramento Republic soccer team into an MLS franchise and build a new stadium just north of downtown.
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News said of Marathe's demotion: is a firing
The team's CEO Jed York said in a text message to the Mercury News said Marathe is, “still the president” and “going to be part of the team and businesses that my family runs for a long time.”
It's all a little fuzzy, and the 49ers are not going to make an announcement until they decide exactly what kind of message they want to convey to the public. Think something like, "mutually parted ways," or "took interest in other areas."
Regardless of that message, this is a major reshuffle.
York made Marathe team president two seasons ago, about the same time things began to sour with former head coach Jim Harbaugh. There's been plenty of speculation about the leaking of inflammatory information about Harbaugh and, more recently, Colin Kaepernick to national reporters.
This all dates back to the offseason before 2014, when rumors surfaced of the 49ers fielding a trade offer from the Cleveland Browns for Harbaugh at February's scouting combine, just weeks after San Francisco lost in devastating fashion to Seattle in the NFC title game.
Sources told Kawakami that Marathe is suspected to be behind a number of those leaks that came out on a near weekly basis throughout last season, undermining the team and coaching staff on the way to an 8-8 finish, and "mutually parting" with Harbaugh after Week 17.
Marathe was viewed as York's right-hand man. And he was a polarizing figure inside the organization, in part, because of his influence of advanced analytics over the football operation, which likely didn't flow with Harbaugh's old-school coaching style, an homage to his college coach Bo Schembechler. That conflict could be spilling over into Jim Tomsula's tenure, as well.
But aside from creating game management charts, heading the team's compliance efforts with the collective bargaining agreement and being the salary cap expert, Marathe also played a key role in the business side of the 49ers. He was a key figure in the building and corporate marketing of Levi's Stadium.
So what does Marathe's firing, or demotion, actually mean?
That answer is months away from becoming clear. But the decision to remove him from team president opens up another, more advanced, round of questioning.
-Who's decision was it to remove Marathe from the top of the power structure, Jed York, John York, or Denise DeBartolo York? The answer to that question will be telling about the team's power structure.
-If Marathe is still around York's family enterprises but no longer with the 49ers, what's going to prevent him from leaking information, if he is behind the leaks?
-Has Al Guido assumed his role?
-What will the front office structure look like after Marathe's demotion, firing, or whatever it will be termed?
-What does it mean for general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Tomsula, who haven't exactly had banner years themselves?
On the surface, a direct correlation to the demise of the 49ers as a football product can be associated with Marathe's rise in the hierarchy. On the other hand, with so many key figures - coaches, players, and now front office types - getting ousted from their positions, the blame game in Santa Clara is too complicated to grasp.
In other words, we won't know if removing Marathe is the right decision, or if this decision is covering up the mistakes of someone else.
After taking the power away from one of your most trusted guys, all eyes are on you, Jed.