Updated Dec. 28, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
San Francisco is expected to clean house in their front office this offseason with general manager Trent Baalke likely to be fired. The once-proud 49ers franchise has had a dramatic dismantling after appearing in three straight NFC Championships and a Super Bowl earlier this decade. Baalke has led the decline of the talent on the 49ers roster and running successful coach Jim Harbaugh out of the organization.
The new San Francisco general manager should be Green Bay Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith. The Packers have sustained a talented roster that has made Green Bay a perennial playoff team. Highsmith has been a critical member in the Packers front office, leading Green Bay to being on the cusp of its eighth straight playoff appearance and a Super Bowl championship in 2010.
Highsmith has been apart of football greatness since he was a youth in South Florida. Highsmith was a water boy for the Dolphins during the early 1980s. He was close with Don Shula’s family and went to high school with Mike Shula. Highsmith was a high school All-American in Miami and starred at the University of Miami before playing for the Oilers, Cowboys and Buccaneers. After his NFL playing days ended, Highsmith was a professional boxer and compiled a 27-1-1 record in his pugilist career.
Executives from around the league say that Highsmith has one of the best eyes for talent in the NFL and has played a massive role in assembling Green Bay’s roster. Not only do they say that he has a great eye for talent, but he works tirelessly, and is especially good at scouting quarterbacks. Highsmith has played with and has been apart of teams with great quarterbacks, going back to playing with Shula in high school. He was a teammate of Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde in college at the University of Miami. Highsmith played with Warren Moon and Troy Aikman in the NFL, while being part of Brett Favre’s tenure in Green Bay and was part of the Green Bay drafting and developing Aaron Rodgers into the best quarterback in the league.
Highsmith has learned under some of the best general managers in the NFL over the past 15 years in Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson, so he’s ready to lead a franchise in the general manager position. He also learned from coaching greats in Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Don Shula, and his father Walter Highsmith.
Highsmith was hired by then Packers Executive Vice President/General Manager Ron Wolf in 1999 to be a college scout for Green Bay. After serving as an area scout for many years, Highsmith was promoted to his current spot in 2012. Working closely with Thompson has given Highsmith a perfect position to prepare for running a franchise.
Sources say that Highsmith has a tremendous work ethic from his time as a player, professional boxer, and area scout. Given his background, he works very well with NFL players and is able to identify with them. With his personal and organizational leadership skills, he can get a franchise working in one direction from the front office into the locker room. Everything he does at Green Bay is about winning as an organization, and sources believe he will build that kind of atmosphere for any team that hires him as their general manager.
Prior to last offseason, the Redskins tried to hire Highsmith away, but they were blocked from doing so. But league sources from multiple teams feel that Highsmith would be a the perfect higher by the 49ers.