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49ers GM search with Colts now joining the game

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The 49ers have interviews planned later this week, but things are evolving. How will it play out?

Fooch’s update: The Colts have requested permission to interview George Paton. This is officially about to get complicated.

The San Francisco 49ers will meet with Kyle Shanahan later this week, and reports have suggested they will have him meet with Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton to if they have a good vibe. Arizona Cardinals VP of player personnel Terry McDonough might be in the mix as well, but nothing has been confirmed on that front.

The 49ers search process has grown more complicated this week with the Indianapolis Colts’ decision to fire GM Ryan Grigson. There is thought that the Colts want to move Peyton Manning into a front office position, and I have heard rumblings they are close to making that happen. However, even if he is in charge, it might be in more of a President role, with a GM still working under him to handle a lot of the day-to-day stuff.

Ian Rapoport reported earlier today that the Colts are going to interview four or five GM candidates this week, with some taking place in Mobile, AL at the Senior Bowl. There have been reports Jimmy Raye III could be promoted internally, but Tom Pelissero is reporting Seahawks executives Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer are both on the list of candidates Irsay will interview. They both interviewed with the 49ers.

Jason La Canfora put together a rundown of where things stand for both the 49ers and the Colts, and had some interesting speculation about Paton.

Most of the people I talk to in NFL front offices believe that Vikings exec George Paton will end up out of this mix in the end, as he will eventually take a job where he has full authority of those matters. If anything, there is an expectation that this job search will expand this week once the 49ers have their second meeting with Shanahan.

Kyle Shanahan has a ton of leverage if he is inclined to push for some semblance of personnel control. There have been reports he does not necessarily want final control, but that does not preclude wanting control of the 53-man roster. The latter is technically not complete control of everything, but it is significant enough. We could be getting into a semantics argument at that point.

If Shanahan does want that kind of control, the 49ers face a couple issues. The first is teams could actually block an executive from going if the position does not include control of the 53-man roster. Given the interviews have happened, I would be surprised if that happened. But then it brings up the second point, which La Canfora mentioned. If Paton is looking to eventually have full authority on personnel, would he be prepared to potentially answer to Shanahan in that regard?

If the 49ers do run into trouble in hiring Paton or McDonough, the Colts job will be a tough competitor. The organization is a mess, but the GM will know that Chuck Pagano is on a short leash, and they will get a chance to build things up around Andrew Luck. Neither organization is looking particularly stable, but getting a chance to start with a piece like Andrew Luck would certainly be enticing for a GM candidate.