ORLANDO, Fla. -- Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke were inconspicuously standing together in a corner of a hotel lobby on Sunday at the NFL owners meetings.
Yes, the 49ers coach and general manager are talking.
And, yes, by the look of the opening of the new league year, Harbaugh and Baalke are closely working together on personnel decisions.
“We have a lot of private discussions,” Baalke told CSNBayArea.com on Sunday. “And we’ll continue to have a lot of private discussions. Our biggest chore right now is – we made it through free agency – we’re getting ready for the draft.
“It’s extremely important for us, as always, to be in lock step as we go through the draft process. We’ve had a lot great discussions and we’ll continue to have great discussions up through the draft.”
On the first day of the new league year, the 49ers traded for quarterback Blaine Gabbert from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then, the 49ers acquired former Stanford offensive lineman Jonathan Martin from the Miami Dolphins.
Both moves appeared to have Harbaugh’s fingerprints all over them.
“We talked it through, and we discussed them,” Baalke said of the trades. “Who’s fingerprints are on it? It’s really our fingerprints. It’s not Jim’s. It’s not mine. It’s ours. That’s how we approach everything. If we feel we can acquire a player that’s going to make us better and have a chance to make us better, we’re going to talk it through and the decisions are going to be made.
“Everyone is looking for ‘Who’s fingerprints are on this trade or this acquisition?’ It’s not like that. It’s media-driven. These are things that are discussed openly and honestly with no agendas in mind, other than the agenda of getting the 49ers better.”
Reports surfaced last season of a developing rift between Harbaugh and Baalke. In the three seasons in which they have worked together as the top two football men in the organization, the 49ers have advanced to the NFC Championship game three times, including a loss in Super Bowl XLVII.
“Jim and I work very well together,” Baalke said. “I think a lot of that is media-driven. A lot of it is speculation. Maybe it’s the desires of others that we don’t work well together, but that’s not the case internally.”