Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has a ton of offensive experience, and by most benchmarks, is worthy of being hired to be an NFL head coach. While nepotism might have gotten him in the door, he now has nine years of offensive coordinator experience, and of course, access to a great football mind in Mike Shanahan (for advice, I don’t think Mike will be in the 49ers organization).
All that is to say, hiring Kyle Shanahan does not strike me as a bad decision. Some will think he can never be a good head coach, but I think he has at least earned the opportunity to prove whether that is true or not. None of this is to say he will undoubtedly be a good head coach. There are no guarantees when you hire a new head coach. It is simply saying, he has earned a shot, and he was a quality candidate among the 49ers interviews.
And so, if the San Francisco 49ers hire Kyle Shanahan to be their next head coach, it can be viewed as a good decision right now. And given that the only other option was eventually Tom Cable, it was 100 percent clear it would be the right decision based on that context.
The 49ers have made it clear to the media that they plan on hiring Shanahan. Tom Cable and Trent Kirchner reportedly dropped out of the HC and GM searches, respectively, because they felt Shanahan was a fait accompli. Mike Silver is reporting Shanahan is “almost certain” to accept the job. The team will meet with Shanahan next week and the situation will be settled one way or another.
Now that there are no candidates left, Kyle Shanahan has tremendous leverage in potential negotiations with the 49ers and whomever might be the next general manager. I started writing this when Tom Cable was still in the picture, and even then, the 49ers knew they would be crushed for hiring the Seahawks coach. Removing Cable from the picture means Shanahan is the only candidate left. If the 49ers do not make this happen, they have no coach and apparently no prospects right now.
Shanahan now has as much leverage as a first-time head coach has ever had as far as I can tell. Maybe there are other examples, but at this stage in the process, I really have no idea what the 49ers would do if they screwed up the negotiations with Shanahan. And so, that would seemingly give Shanahan tremendous leverage when it comes to salary and personnel negotiations. The latter could mean he asks for his own personnel power, it could mean he asks for a specific GM, or it could simply mean getting some kind of contractual assurances that Jed York and Paraag Marathe will remain in their lane.
All of this is to say, if the 49ers do actually manage to not screw this up and get Shanahan hired, there would be reason for fans to have some hope. The past three years have been a dumpster fire, and it has felt like Jed York has not learned a thing. However, if the 49ers do hire Kyle Shanahan and whomever as GM, it is a sign that maybe York is in fact prepared to let his coach and GM have full control of the situation.
Matt Maiocco reported earlier on Tuesday that sources told him Jed York and Paraag Marathe promised, “all the resources necessary and plenty of patience in fixing the problem.” The past couple years have made it hard to buy that, but adding Shanahan given the leverage he has would be a good sign they are serious about this. Sure, things could go south, and I understand the need to be skeptical in light of the last three years. But a Shanahan hiring will give me new faith in the organization because of the leverage Shanahan holds in any upcoming contract negotiations.
So, Jed, don’t [site decorum] this up.