49ers Bungling May Have Blown Warner Deal

It didn't take long for the San Francisco 49ers' courtship of Kurt Warner to devolve into a contentious game of "He said, he said." Once that happened, Warner decided he wasn't interested and signed back on with the Cardinals

Warner may have slipped through their fingers because they picked a public battle of contradiction with Warner's agent.

The day after Warner was given VIP treatment in his free agent visit to 49ers headquarters, his agent immediately began working the media. Warner's agent Rick Bartelstein told ESPN.com that San Francisco had made an offer "much higher" than what was on the table with Arizona, an offer Bartelstein claimed would make Warner one of the league's five highest-paid quarterbacks.

But the moment that news hit the ESPN crawling updates at the bottom of your screen, team general manager Scot McCloughan fired off an e-mail to the Chronicle vowing that the 49ers had made Warner no offer at all.

One of these parties is sending victorious press releases to ESPN. The other party is typing reactionary e-mails to the Chronicle. Guess which party seems a little savvier here?

This was the Jed and Scot administration's first attempt at bagging a top-notch free agent. They can attest that they never made an offer to this free agent. But if that's the case, can they attest to why they even bothered bringing him here?

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is at least happy that Shaun Hill can keep his beloved number 13.

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