Sealed With a Kiss

The Trent Baalke School of Trading is open. Still.

Now that we see the final product of what the Niners gave away and received in the Alex Smith trade from 14 months ago, we can judge one thing about San Francisco GM Trent Baalke: He is calculating, he is fast, and he knows how to set up his team for the future.

The result, first, of the 2013 trade of Smith to Kansas City for a pair of second-round draft picks. The two second-round picks, or their tributaries, were traded a total of five times over the past two drafts, and here’s how it shook out after this year’s draft.

Surrendered
QB Alex Smith  

Acquired*
DL Tank Carradine (second round, 2013)
LB Corey Lemonier (third round, 2013)
LB Chris Borland (third round, 2014)
RB Carlos Hyde (second round, 2014)
WR Stevie Johnson (acquired for 2015 fourth-rounder)

* Lemonier was acquired in part with a tributary pick stemming from the Smith trade, and Johnson was acquired from Buffalo on Friday for a fourth-round conditional pick in 2015. That’s included here because San Francisco obtained a fourth-round pick in 2015 from Denver for the second-round pick that originally belonged to Kansas City—so the two picks, arguably, will end up canceling each other out.

Steve Johnson joins the 49ers after spending his first six seasons with the Bills. (Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Steve Johnson joins the 49ers after spending his first six seasons with the Bills. (Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Now the story. In the span of 22 minutes Friday, Baalke consummated three trades. One: He traded the 56th pick in the second round (the second Kansas City second-rounder) to Denver for the 63rd and 171st this year, and the Broncos’ fourth-round pick next year. Two: Baalke traded the 63rd and 171st picks just acquired from Denver to Miami for the 57th pick in the draft; Baalke got the player he would have picked at 56, Carlos Hyde, at 57 … while adding the fourth-rounder next year that replaced the pick used to get Stevie Johnson. Three: He traded his own second-round pick, 61st overall, to Jacksonville for the 70th and 150th picks.

Baalke explained that he and COO Paraag Marathe work the phone and line up prospective trades, and it was hectic because there were a couple of other teams calling in that 22-minute span trying to get one or more of the Niners’ picks at 56 and 61. “That span you talked about was a little bit of a grind,” Baalke said late Saturday night. “A lot of action, a lot of things to consider. Paraag’s the best in the business at lining things up, and then we make the decision. After we made the trade with Denver, I thought we might be able to get Carlos at 61, but then we called [Miami] at 57 and figured we could use what we got from Denver in this year’s draft and keep next year’s pick and move up to make sure we got him. And it allowed us basically to get our four back, which we used to trade for Stevie.”

This isn’t a case of San Francisco fleecing Denver. But it is an example of Baalke doing the smart thing and waiting until a needy team is either on the clock or frothing after a certain player. That was Denver with wide receiver Cody Latimer, whom the Broncos project to replace Eric Decker (who signed with the Jets as a free agent) right away. If he works out the way John Elway thinks, surrendering the four next year will be nothing.

Time will tell if Baalke made the haul worth it. The five pieces the Smith deal yielded:

  1. Carradine will get on the field healthy for the first time as a Niner this month. He missed all of last season with an ACL tear. He’ll be the third man in the 3-4 defensive end rotation with the aging Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, and move inside on some four-lineman snaps. He’s being groomed to start in the 3-4 scheme when Smith or McDonald are gone.
  2. Lemonier played 284 snaps, mostly subbing for the idle Aldon Smith last year, and will be in the outside-linebacker rotation with Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody, competing for time.
  3. Borland is an accomplished college player and produced an amazing 27 turnovers in his Wisconsin career. But he’s only 5-11½, and he could be a first-down player only (against the run). “It’ll be interesting to see if his game translates to the NFL,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. However, with NaVorro Bowman expected to be sidelined until at least November rehabbing a severe knee injury, there’s a spot on the Niners’ D at inside ’backer waiting to be won, and Borland will get a solid crack at it. “I’ve heard people talk about his size, and his short arms,” said Baalke. “But he’s a guy with instincts. All those short arms did somehow was rack up over 400 tackles in the Big Ten.”
  4. Hyde should be able to make the move from the Big 10 to the NFL much easier. He’s the heir to Frank Gore, a 230-pound bruiser with enough moves to be an every-down back. That is, if Gore ever slows down.
  5. Johnson is still only 27, but he had a down year last year with the Bills. He’s not the speedster the Niners sought this offseason to help de-pressurize Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, but he should be a good third receiver and an adequate piece to San Francisco’s underachieving receiver group.

I asked Baalke about his feelings on the trade now that the chips are known. “Mixed emotions,” he said. “I have so much respect for Alex Smith and his family, and great regard for him as a player. He’s the epitome of a good man and teammate and a good player. I know the Kansas City Chiefs staff, and they are thrilled to have him. We’ll see how it works out for us. It’s still early.” 

* * *

How to keep a draft secret: Make the knowledge circle very small.

One reason the TV ratings were so high (round one of the draft on ESPN and NFL Network, 8.7 rating; the LeBron playoff game and Bruins-Montreal hockey playoff games, combined, 3.8 rating) was the suspense. The first pick was cloudy until the end, and America was clueless about the third (Jacksonville) and fourth (Cleveland) picks. Could Johnny Manziel land at any of those places? Could he slide way down the board. Of course. So I made this point to Jacksonville GM Dave Caldwell on Saturday: You don’t like the May draft at all because it takes needed prep time from your rookies. But you, by keeping a secret so well, helped inflate the ratings. Caldwell chuckled at that. But it’s true.

Caldwell has known for some time—months, really—that he wanted to take Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles with the Jags’ first pick in the draft. But he told only coach Gus Bradley his thoughts, and as the team went through draft meetings, he’d go through the ratings with the coaches and scouts and never tip his hand about who he thought should be the pick. Last week, they pondered all the scenarios. He’d say, “How would we feel with Khalil Mack and Stephon Tuitt for our first two picks?” Or, “What about Jake Matthews and Teddy Bridgewater?”

The Jags plan to let No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles sit and learn during the 2014 season. (Elsa/Getty Images)
The Jags plan to let No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles sit and learn during the 2014 season. (Elsa/Getty Images)

I found it surprising that Caldwell and his former boss and mentor, Thomas Dimitroff, were discussing a trade of first-round picks. They had many discussions about swapping the third and sixth picks in the draft, with Atlanta handing Jacksonville a third-round pick to make the move. “I thoughtWednesday  night we were going to get it done,” said Dimitroff. “But Thursday Dave called me and said, ‘We’re going to stay put and pick our guy.’” Whoever “our guy” was. Dimitroff never knew who Caldwell wanted until it was announced by Roger Goodell on stage at Radio City.

Ironically, Atlanta would have picked Jake Matthews at three; the Falcons got him at six. And Bortles would have been Jacksonville’s pick at three or six.

“All along Gus knew, and late in the process, we clued in [owner] Shad [Khan],” said Caldwell. “But there was just too much at stake to risk anyone finding out and possibly jumping us. I’m quiet by nature, so it wasn’t hard for me. I wasn’t saying a word. I love Thomas. I’d say 99 percent of the time when we talk, I tell him everything and bounce things off him. But not this time.”

Bad for us in the media. Good for the ratings, and insurance-good for getting Bortles.

“The reason I didn’t take the trade is there were so many teams that wanted quarterbacks—at one, four, five, seven and eight, and they were all within striking distance of us,” Caldwell said. “I just kept thinking, ‘One of those teams has to see what we were seeing in Bortles.’ So let’s say we move back and make a deal. What are we going to take in the third? A guard? [Jacksonville did use a third-round pick on guard Brandon Linder of Miami.] You can find guards. You can’t find the quarterback you think fits your team best. So in the end it wasn’t a hard decision for us.”

Bill Polian and Dimitroff trained Caldwell well. It may take until 2016 before we know for sure if Caldwell’s quarterback decision is right, because the Jags may redshirt Bortles for the entire 2014 season.

* * *

War room visitor of the week.

The son of St. Louis GM Les Snead, Logan Snead, is a buddy of Max Blank (son of Falcons owner Arthur Blank) in seventh grade in Atlanta. So Logan got invited to spend draft night in the Falcons’ draft room with Max on Thursday, and he wore tan slacks and a sharp blue shirt—Rams colors—for the evening.

Interesting: The son of the Rams’ GM inside another team’s draft room. Snead, of course, used to work for Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, and the two are good friends.

“Hey Logan,” Dimitroff said to the boy at one point, “you kidding me with the gold and blue clothes?”

“I’m quietly repping the Rams,” Logan said.

Writer’s note: I spent time with the Falcons during the draft. My report on what Atlanta did, and how it is adjusting things in the wake of its 4-12 debacle last season, will appear on this site later this week.

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903 comments
ShaneMac
ShaneMac

For the most part Mr. King, a pretty good article.  I am a man of no biases but my only complaint on the Michael Sam issue was not the immediate showing of the impact and emotion of the selection of Mr. Sam and his celebratory embraces with his partner, but with the latter tones of self-congratulatory behavior shown by the St. Louis Rams, the NFL, ESPN and now you, Mr. King.   We all knew whichever team that drafted or signed Mr. Sam were to be championed at breaking a tolerance barrier long overdue in an overt way in the NFL.  We finally know of one player in the midst of dozens that are perhaps trying to express that their choices are also acceptable.  It will be slow in coming in this league especially but there is hope.

So, now time for a joke.

ShaneMac
ShaneMac

If Sam Bradford married Michael Sam, he would be Sam Sam.

ColoradoVentura
ColoradoVentura

A film company I work with put together a funny parody about the NFL draft. Give it a watch and if you like it could you share it for us on Facebook or Instagram http://youtu.be/JoLgtM1dGSc and defiantly let me know what you think about it


EarlineJSmith
EarlineJSmith

ᴊᴜsᴛ ᴀs Rᴏᴅɴᴇʏ ɪᴍᴘʟɪᴇᴅ I'ᴍ ɪᴍᴘʀᴇssᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀ ᴘᴇʀsᴏɴ ᴄᴀɴ ᴇᴀʀɴ $4074 ɪɴ 4 ᴡᴇᴇᴋs ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ . ᴛʜɪs ʟɪɴᴋ 



J­ℴb­s­7­5­.­C­­O­M­------------work-at-home---

tdrurak
tdrurak

I find it unbelievable how much hatred there is in this world.  It's so sad.  That was a great article Peter.

Thomas15
Thomas15

Black Americans who don't tune in to michael sam's reality TV show every week are homophobes.

White Americans who don't tune in every week, are homophobes AND racists. 


And for the record: when human beings have a visceral reaction to a hissing snake, they don't HATE the snake per se. It is not a considered, contemplative action. It is not an intellectual action. They don't call them GUT-reactions for nothing.  But rather have in their DNA some lesson handed down by evolution through the centuries. Hissing snakes are dangerous. 


For that reason the vast majority of men who are repulsed sometimes to the point of physical sickness by the sight of a man kissing a man, or even the thought of it, are not evil homophobes, bent on persecution. Like the example of the hissing snake, they too have in their DNA some knowledge handed down by evolution; men kissing men is wrong. NOT morally wrong. Religion has nothing to do with this. I imagine it has to do with the survival of the species, just as the hissing snake does on a more individual level. 


But I refuse to be demonized because something turns my stomach. Either there's something wrong with me. Or there's something wrong with that behavior. I know which it is. And men should have to take a beating because they have the guts to say it out loud. 

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

I bet my wife that Michael Sam would be the lead, and we'd be beaten over the head with him by PK.  I win.

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

You know, one thing I would have liked to see Peter address was the antics of Jon Gruden on ESPN. As much as he was touting Manziel as The Next Big Thing, you'd have thought he was getting a fee from Manziel's agent. 

Buck2185
Buck2185

Peter, why you and other writers keep writing about the POS Sam is only making the problem worse. Wasn't the kiss, on national television, enough for you? Great lesson for our children. It is apparent you like that kind of thing since you can't stop covering it. Please do the majority of us a favor and go suck face with Sam in private and quit writing about him...

Jon1979
Jon1979

Since the Browns have said they don't expect Manziel to be their starting quarterback to begin the season, and since the Rams pretty much have their starting defensive ends set in place for 2014, come August 23 we could see the most media coverage ever of the fourth quarter of a preseason football game.


St Louis at Cleveland. First home game of the season for the Browns. First road game for the Rams and a final period where -- once the subs come in -- could see Michael Sam trying to chase down Johnny Manziel. They may not even both doing any highlights on SportsCenter that night of any part of the game before 10 p.m.

Catch2209
Catch2209

Why have cameras at a gay bar for the draft? My problem with the whole thing being played out on espn is as a white straight male can I have a white only straight bar? Gays get what they want, blacks have affirmative action, Hispanics get free health care. As a white married father where can I go? Can I open a white only bar for men who like women? Protesters would shut it down. I don't watch football with my son to watch black and white guys tongue each other. It was a sad day for America that this crap was on espn. It was the last place I expected it. Ufc here I come

Googie
Googie

Mr. King....the world can change and you can feast your eyes on two men kissing.....but for me and just about

anyone I know, I'll reach for the remote, or look the other way and have no guilt in doing so....Just because the

"world is changing" does not mean I have to accept it or praise it or believe in it.


SkokieDog
SkokieDog

"The world is changing, and the Rams and Sam and the NFL and ESPN made a seminal moment of it Saturday." 

Peter, I believe that your Freudian slip is showing. 

largebill68
largebill68

Peter, Some reporter needs to ask NFL about the disparity in their punishment system. Ray Rice beats his girlfriend unconscious and gets no punishment. Another guy smokes some weed and faces a year long suspension. Really? Is that how NFL views the two offenses?

vinskyvin
vinskyvin

This is no big deal , watching the fruit brute kissing his whatever, gross.He is a very sick man.my condolences to his family

davidhd
davidhd

Michael Sam being gay shouldn't be a story, but oh well, let those that care have a celebration. The only problem, for him, is that he was drafted by a team with a great young defensive line, and he might not play a whole lot, like many other 7th round picks. He might have been better off not being drafted, ironically, because he could have signed with a team with a less competitive defensive line situation. 

KevinBrown2
KevinBrown2

If we're not suppose to care about other people's sexual orientation, why do we obsess about a 7th round draft pick? Why would someone feel compelled to make a public statement about their sexual orientation, for that matter? Apparently Sam thinks we ought to care. If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. You can't have it both ways.

madmanTX
madmanTX

The error in the Darvish near no-hitter wasn't a factor, so why mention it? That's a bit of saying "this is what my argument was going to be had my beloved Red Sox been no hit". You won't hear Ranger fans whining about Darvish not getting the no no. There's a reason why the rest of the county hates NY and Boston teams and their fans: whining.

daveg2011
daveg2011

OK enough about sam....is being gay the cool thing to be right now???

not right for 2 men kissing on national tv....what does that say to our youth??? not OK!!!!!

Mat X
Mat X

So a quip about New England loving slot receivers and no mention of Wes Welker?  Zzzzzzzzzz

leon1376
leon1376

Sorry, Peter King, "the world" is not changing - only Europe with a bearded woman singer and America with two men French-kissing. About a billion Muslims think the western world is slowly going insane. Ditto that for another billion Chinese a couple hundred million Russians. All the "two guys kissing" video has done is give Iran and al-Qaeda bulletin board material. 

Bahia
Bahia

peter king was really unique in the beginning when he wrote about stories that were behind the scene in the world of the NFL, but it's not simple anymore because of the nfl's popularity and political issues such as brain injuries, guns, political correctness, and acceptance of homosexuality. And he took a political stance based upon his personal belief for which he would be judged. i suppose you can read don banks if you want to avoid the politics, but peter king has now established himself as who he is.

Buck2185
Buck2185

@tdrurak What are you talking about? The article sucked, as does anything that comes from Peter....

BushidoBrownsRevenge
BushidoBrownsRevenge

@Thomas15  Im scared of hissing snakes because they can be dangerous and I dont remember any white people being called racist for not watching "Homeboys in outer space." Im not going to watch Micheal Sam's or AJ McCarron's reality show. I dont think that makes me a racist homophobe.

el80ne
el80ne

@CGGymDog Dude, Gruden does that just about every year for the QBs he sees as the stars of the class. You should have heard him in 2012 when he was promoting RG3 and Russell Wilson. He kept ripping the Rams for sticking with Bradford and almost grawled with Kiper for his dissing on Wilson. Gruden's very passionate when he he falls in love with a QB he has on his camp.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Catch2209  Here's a hint: white straight people can go to gay bars frequented by other races if they like.  They're not racist bigots.  You are.  

BillRobinson
BillRobinson

Poor dear! I can't think of a white suburban community where you would have a problem finding a bar that has a white straight clientele. Why would you want one though? I feel sorry for your son.

Joss Wilson
Joss Wilson

@Googie  I bet you are one of these believers in "God." Newflash gay people are real, god isnt

BushidoBrownsRevenge
BushidoBrownsRevenge

@largebill68  Ray Rice has not been punished yet. Who knows what will happen once the legal system plays out. There is no public video of Rice striking her either. Gordon has failed his second drug test with his employers. The penalty for Gordon is excessive but they have the proof in the urine sample.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@vinskyvin  And mine to yours, as well as your friend and anyone with whom you interact.  

Folsom49er
Folsom49er

@davidhd



I hope Sam makes the Team & contributes so we can get away from what has become the "Sam's World" Media Extravaganza!

I'm happy for him but My Lord he's getting more Pub than Clowney & Manziel put together!

Look forward to having this Circus end tomorrow for at least a few weeks after Sam's News Conference (on a 7th Rounder)

ChitownTexan
ChitownTexan

@madmanTX  my thoughts exactly. Errors are stupid anyway. If an old slow short stop can't get to a ball in the gap it's a hit, but if a young fast short stop gets there but can't make the difficult play then it's an error. Stupid. If a guy gets on, it should be a hit instead of some arbitrary judgement about what might have happened. 


Plus, if you're going to have errors they should account for a ball falling directly between two players who were close enough to make the play but erred in communication. If you were rooting against the no-hitter, then you want that play to be a hit. If you were rooting for it, you want it to be an error.



dgm2126
dgm2126

@madmanTX  I dunno, Red Sox and Yankees have five titles between them since the turn of the century, to Texas' none ever. Maybe that's why you hate them. 

acieearl
acieearl

@daveg2011  It says that it is OK to love someone unconditionally, if you cannot explain that to your son, daughter or any other "youth" it is your problem.

dgm2126
dgm2126

@leon1376  So you're saying your on Al-Qaeda's side, basically. 

acieearl
acieearl

@leon1376  Good point, I guess we should consider al-Qaeda's feelings the next time two men or women kiss on television.  Make sure you don't look at the Swimsuit issue when it comes out we don't want Ayman al-Sawahiri to find out.

bofureturn
bofureturn

@leon1376  i guess king thinks the world means a few hundred million white western liberals.

leon1376
leon1376

@Bahia  Peter King has always been part of the Nancy Pelosi wing of the loony left. When I used to read him I'd be amused at how he'd work Man-made Global Warming or an anti-gun sneer into seemingly every article. He always struck me as being something of a pretentious, full of himself, supercilious fop. An American Piers Morgan, if you will. Imagine how thrilled he's going to  be when the first Conchita Wurst look-alike cheerleader shows up on the Cowboys sidelines. Gay and transvestite cheerleaders in the NFL! Woo-hoo!  

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@Bahia  Yeah, it's amazing the anger people voice in the comments here.  There are lots of football writers - if King's opinions make you that angry, why are you here?  Some of these people are just crying for attention.

Go_Niners!
Go_Niners!

@vinskyvin  That should've been "friends".  The implication that you only have one friend, while quite possibly accurate given your unpleasant commentary, was accidental.

davidhd
davidhd

@VanHayhow @KevinBrown2  I agree with Kevin Brown 2, and here's why: 10 years ago, Michael Sam's coming out would have been courageous and newsworthy, but now? 


Nowadays an NBA owner loses his team for making a private racist comment, we have several openly gay athletes in other sports who are not only free from any public or private backlash, but are actually celebrated and applauded, we have gay rights marches in every city, we have gay marriage winning every court battle and those that oppose it being marginalized and shouted at in the media, with their churches being vandalized and their beliefs shamed, and being anti gay is far more likely to get you into trouble than actually being gay. I'm glad to live in a time with this type of acceptance and tolerance for all different cultures, lifestyles, and orientations, and I'm happy about all things peaceful and loving, but don't tell me someone is "courageous" for coming out nowadays.


Michael Sam came out at a time when coming out is celebrated, applauded, respected, and popular. He did nothing but help himself by doing so, and he probably wouldn't have been drafted otherwise. 



acieearl
acieearl

@leon1376 @Bahia  newsflash, there are plenty of lesbian/bi-sexual female cheerleaders in the nfl already. Are you oppose to them or only when men kiss?

MoeLarryAndJesus
MoeLarryAndJesus

@Go_Niners! @Bahia King's opinions don't make these dimwits angry.  These dimwits are angry 24 hours a day.  They thrive on anger.  Listen to conservative hate radio and anger is basically all you get.


I think they're mad because their kind is going down the road to extinction.  Think of them as dodo birds.

el80ne
el80ne

@davidhd @VanHayhow@KevinBrown2I'm not sure I agree. So what that they've come out in other sports? The barrier hadn't been broken in football, considered the most physical and 'alpha' of the major American sports. You're right that right now is a time when this stuff is being celebrated and applauded, but that's only by a vocal minority in the news media blowing it up. The reason they do is because it's still a shock to a lot of people, as you can tell here on this thread. Until it gains mainstream acceptance then to treat it as 'no big deal' when clearly most of society has other ideas, isn't being cognizant of the reality.

DoAStrikeout
DoAStrikeout

@RS#20 @MoeLarryAndJesus @Go_Niners! @Bahia  It's Judeo not Jew Dao. Look up the word Dao for some further context on why this is funny to me and others who know the word :D.


Also, the word Judeo in the term Judeo-Christian, which I think is what you were going for but missed, refers only to the Jewish half of the equation. 

RS#20
RS#20

@MoeLarryAndJesus @Go_Niners! @Bahia  I am a conservative Christian I guess what you would call a Dodo bird. From the handful of your posts I've read all I see from you is name calling, snide remarks and anger. And from your strong defense of Peter King I'm thinking you may be gay yourself. Whether you are or not, just think about living as a gay person in a country that has not been influenced by Jew Dao/

Christian values. 


You'd probably miss us Dodo birds then.

ShaneMac
ShaneMac

@RS#20 :   It's Judeo/ Christian values.  You're welcome.

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