It’s safe to say the San Francisco 49ers have made it unofficially clear what their plan is at this point. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the team plans on offering their vacant head coach position to Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as soon as the Falcons season comes to an end.
This is not exactly shocking news in light of the current situation. On Monday, Josh McDaniels removed his name from consideration, leaving Shanahan and Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable. Schefter then reported the 49ers were honing in on Shanahan as their choice. On Tuesday, Seahawks executive Trent Kirchner removed his name from consideration for the GM job due to the belief the 49ers were focused on Shanahan and not Cable.
The Falcons face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game this Sunday. If the Falcons lose, Shanahan is free to do whatever he wants. If the Falcons win, Shanahan can meet with the 49ers next week during the Super Bowl bye, but cannot be formally offered the job until the Super Bowl ends. However, as we saw two years ago with Dan Quinn, a deal could be done before the Super Bowl even arrives. It would then be formally announced on the Monday after the game.
It is worth noting Mike Garafolo reported on Tuesday that Shanahan would be focused on the Falcons playoff run and would not even think about the 49ers until after the playoffs were done.
“And I’m also told that Shanahan intends to remain focused on the Falcons and won’t make a decision on his coaching future, even behind the scenes, even to himself, until he is through with the postseason run and can take a full look at the 49ers’ situation.”
Although this would seemingly preclude a meeting next week if the Falcons win, that seems highly doubtful. Ian Rapoport tweeted that the 49ers are expected to get their top GM candidates with Shanahan, “to see who meshes well.” Terry McDonough has been mentioned as having interest in working with Shanahan, but with Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst, and plenty other candidates available, it will be an interesting sort of dating game setup.