Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is the “clear front-runner” for the 49ers head coaching vacancy, a source tells Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link). Jackson has yet to even interview for the position — that meeting will take place on Sunday — but the impression is that he is very interested in the job, per Kawakami (via Twitter).
The 49ers’ initial search focused on two candidates: Jackson and Saints head coach Sean Payton, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (Twitter link). With Payton choosing to remain in New Orleans, San Francisco has apparently turned its attention to Jackson, who cannot interview with the club until the conclusion of Cincinnati’s Saturday Wild Card game.
As our head coaching search tracker shows, Jackson is a very popular candidate on the coaching circuit, having been linked to four of the seven clubs with openings. In addition to the 49ers, he’ll also interview with the Dolphins and Browns on Sunday, and he’s been mentioned in connection with the Giants job.
San Francisco has already interviewed two other candidates — former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and current Bills assistant head coach Anthony Lynn — but it appears as though those two might be on the outside looking in. The 49ers are also expected to meet with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan at some point.
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