The San Francisco 49ers do not currently have an opening for a head coach, even though most fans likely would want there to be such an opening. Although there is not an opening, that will not stop the speculation and hopes. And last night's firing of Chip Kelly is only going to add fuel to the fire.
The Philadelphia Eagles declared that Kelly was "released", but it's safe to say that is as much of a euphemism as "mutually parted ways" was with regard to the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh. One side likely wanted out more than the other, and the side with more power pulled the trigger to end what was viewed as a headache by one or more parties.
Chip Kelly will not be out of a job for long if he so chooses, and naturally some 49ers fans ponder the idea of him in town. On the off chance the 49ers do end up canning Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly would be an intriguing option, but the reasonings for his Philly departure are certainly worth noting.
The two main reasons for his departure, according to Bleeding Green Nation, are that he lost the support of his players, and he did not want to give up his personnel power. The latter is the issue that would be in play if the 49ers were ever going to consider the notion of Chip Kelly. Jay Glazer spoke with Chip Kelly, and Kelly apparently told him at his next stop he simply wants to coach, and does not want to be the personnel guy as well.
If that is in fact true, the San Francisco 49ers could actually make some sense. Trent Baalke is in charge, and has Tom Gamble as one of his top lieutenants. Gamble and Kelly reportedly had a strong relationship in Philadelphia before Gamble was given the boot. BGN wrote about Gamble's departure last year, and one report suggested Kelly did not fight to save Gamble, but disapproved of the manner and timing in which Gamble was dismissed.
It seems like a somewhat complicated relationship, so that is something we will need to keep an eye on before assuming those two would actually even be able to work together in San Francisco. I emailed Brandon from BGN to get his thoughts on Kelly's relationship with the front office and Gamble as well to see if there is anything else worth noting.
Kelly is still viewed as a strong personality, and given what has been speculated upon regarding Jed York and Trent Baalke, would they want such a personality in place? If Kelly is legitimately looking to just be a coach, I could see it possible in some sense. York and Baalke have zero interest in talking to the media, and Kelly is a strong enough personality to deal with the day-in and day-out interactions during the season. Gamble might provide a potential necessary buffer that seemed to be lacking between Jim Harbaugh and the brass, but given his departure in Philadelphia, we'll need to figure out exactly what that relationship is like.
I don't actually think this is going to happen, but it is one situation that would not be entirely crazy if it did happen. The 49ers have one more game, and then we find out for certain if Jim Tomsula will be returning in 2016. Barring an absolute beat-down at the hands of the St. Louis Rams, I think that happens. It's a disappointing possibility, but something that does seem likely.