The San Francisco 49ers have rebuilt themselves nicely from the colossal nightmare that was their mismanagement of players’ contracts from the late 1990s through the recent Singletary era. The organization’s drafting and player development arms acquired terrible talent for which ownership doled out hefty and franchise-crippling deals. There is the obvious Alex Smith selection as top pick in the 2005 draft, but there were several missteps that left the club with inadequate and overpaid players who never realized what little potential they seemed to truly possess.
Think you can name all seven of the players? Click through the slides and see! Remember to post any players you think may have deserved to be featured on this “Hall of Shame” list.
No. 7: Mike Singletary, Head Coach: Four Years/$10 Million
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If players who failed to meet expectations are going to be named, then it’s critical to feature the head coach who had a major role in those players’ acquisitions. Mike Singletary, with his no-nonsense attitude (and Hall of Fame background), was brought in to provide structure and discipline to a team struggling to find its identity.
While he did flip on the mental switch for Vernon Davis, he also had questionable motivational tactics and tended to draft athletes over football players. His rigid demeanor and highly conservative play-calling proved to be his undoing as he never adapted to being a head coach in the modern era.
No. 6: Antonio Bryant, Wide Receiver: Four Years/$15 Million ($5 Million Bonus)
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Antonio Bryant came to San Francisco after posting decent if not productive numbers with the Cleveland Browns in 2005 (69 rec., 1,008 yards, 14.6 YPC), his third year in the NFL. It is commonly known that wide receivers generally makes a career leap during his third year, prompting the 49ers to sign Bryant in free agency in 2006 to a four-year, $15 million deal, guaranteeing $5 million.
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Bryant began his career with the 49ers well, posting back-to-back 100-plus yard games to open the season, but quickly fell out of favor with the coaching staff due to his constant clashing with then-head coach, Mike Nolan. The team released him after just one season. This slide is more of an indictment of the 49ers’ management than of Bryant; having parted ways with a talented receiver just a year after giving him so much money up front demonstrated a sheer lack of business sense from the organization.