La Canfora’s Latest: 49ers, Saints, RGIII

It is almost a foregone conclusion that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh will not be prowling the San Francisco sidelines after the 2014 season. Although much of the talk concerning the 49ers’ head coaching situation has centered around Harbaugh’s next destination, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports examines how the team might go about replacing its successful but polarizing general.

Although Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase would be a logical external candidate, La Canfora writes that the 49ers plan to thoroughly evaluate their internal options and that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula would be at the top of the team’s list. Both men have done an exceptional job during their tenure with the club, and 2014 might represent their high-water mark as coaches, given that the 49ers’ defense has thrived in the midst of injuries to some of its best players.

Tomsula is a personal favorite of owner Jed York, and both he and Fangio are expected to receive interest from other clubs looking to fill head coaching positions. However, the team would like to keep as much of its talented defensive staff in place as possible, particularly since Eric Mangini and offensive coordinator Greg Roman are expected to follow Harbaugh wherever he goes. Hiring Tomsula or Fangio would also mesh with San Francisco’s preferred operating procedure, as it would be out of character for the team to attempt to attract a big-name, big-money coach from outside the organization.

Let’s take a look at some other relevant issues that La Canfora has touched on this morning:

  • La Canfora writes that there is a growing rift between Saints head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and that the team is expected to find a new defensive coordinator–which would be its fifth in Payton’s nine-year tenure–after the season. Citing an unnamed source, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report tweets that La Canfora’s report is “very accurate,” although Mike Triplett of tweets that he has not heard about the friction between Payton and Ryan.
  • La Canfora tweets that he expects “substantial change” on the Saints and 49ers rosters after this season given the teams’ high salary cap numbers and large salaries.
  • If Washington were to try to trade quarterback Robert Griffin III after the season, La Canfora writes that the team is unlikely to get more than a third round pick for him.
  • We learned earlier today that the Ravens are expected to reward Justin Forsett with a multiyear deal after this season, but La Canfora notes that Forsett’s contract prevents him from signing an in-season extension if Baltimore were inclined to lock him up sooner. As former agent Joel Corry tweets, Forsett’s age (30) will limit the size of his contract, despite his “low mileage.”
  • Although the Colts have stated they do not have interest in bringing Ray Rice aboard, La Canfora wonders if the team’s need at running back and Rice’s relationship with head coach Chuck Pagano will be enough for them to change their stance.
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