NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport made a surprising statement on KNBR Wednesday morning, when he told Murph and Mac that despite local opinions, 49ers Executive VP of Football Operations Paraag Marathe is a “really respected name in the NFL.”
Shortly after, 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows joined Murph and Mac to give a slightly different take a Marathe, highlighting what he believes is a primary issue with his presence in the San Francisco front office.
“With what Paraag does — he’s their top contract negotiator and he’s their salary cap guru — so in those realms he’s great,” Barrows began. “I don’t think there’s any complaint about that. The issue with Paraag — with coaches and GMs — is when he starts sitting in on the football meetings. ‘Why is a non-football guy part of this meeting?’ Apparently, that was an issue for Chip Kelly as well.”
“If Paraag is sticking to the things he’s good at, I don’t think there’s any issues with him. The issues have come up in the past when he’s dabbling in football related matters.”
What could be an even bigger issue is that Marathe and CEO Jed York are currently in charge of hiring the 49ers’ next head coach and general manager, meaning that two non-football guys are currently tasked with making two of the biggest football decisions for the franchise moving forward.
“In the past you’ve at least had your GM – a football guy – as a part of these meetings,” Barrows said. “Doing the hiring in the case of Jim Tomsula a couple of years ago. This year there’s no GM, so it’s the CEO and Paraag basically – they say they are consulting with guys, and that’s probably the case – but it’s those two guys that are mainly making the decision this time.”
Marathe has been with the team since 2000, and served as team president from 2014-2015. Marathe is widely respected as a contract negotiator and salary cap architect, and helped drag the 49ers out of one of the worst salary cap messes in recent history in the early 2000s.
Listen to the full interview below.