Scot McCloughan, who knows the 49ers' personnel better than anyone else, has landed a job with a team that plays the 49ers twice a year. The 49ers' former general manager is close to finalizing a job in the Seahawks' scouting department, according to McCloughan's agent. The two sides are still working on the terms of the deal. McCloughan was the Seahawks' director of college scouting before Mike Nolan hired him to run the 49ers' scouting department in 2005.
The 49ers and McCloughan abruptly parted ways in March, a little more than two years after he had been promoted as the team's general manager. The impetus for the departure has not been divulged by either side, but team president Jed York said personal reasons led to what he termed a "mutual" parting. The two sides struck an agreement that said McCloughan could not join another team until mid June - two months after the draft.
York said at the time that McCloughan's departure was not based on his ability to evaluate talent, and indeed York had trumpeted McCloughan's ability to find good players in the past. "It is difficult because I care a lot about Scot and I think everybody knows how I've defended Scot and talked about the things he's added to the team," York said. "So it's never easy to part ways with somebody you consider a friend."
The 49ers recently signed one of those players, Patrick Willis, to a contract extension that will keep the linebacker in San Francisco through 2016. McCloughan had to fight for Willis, the 11th overall pick in 2007, over the objections of Nolan and then-linebackers coach Mike Singletary, who initially thought Willis was too small to play inside linebacker in the NFL. The team also is contemplating extensions for two other McCloughan picks, tight end Vernon Davis and safety Dashon Goldson.
McCloughan's legacy with the 49ers, however, will forever be linked to quarterback Alex Smith. He was the first player Nolan and McCloughan drafted after arriving in 2005, and he has yet to live up to his No. 1 overall draft status. While Smith finally is getting a second year with the same offensive system - which bodes well for his progress - he also is entering the final year of his contract. If Smith doesn't shine this season, he won't be back in San Francisco, and his selection will be seen as a mistake.
McCloughan has worked with Seattle general manager John Schneider in the past, both in Green Bay and Seattle. "It's huge for us because Scot is one of the most respected personnel people in the league," Schneider told ESPN. "He played a critical role in helping the Seahawks become a Super Bowl team (in 2005) and did a great job in rebuilding the 49ers over the last few years." Another former 49er, Jeff Ulbrich, joined the Seahawks in the offseason as a special teams assistant. One more thing -- the 49ers begin the season in Seattle Sept. 12.
-- Matt Barrows