The 49ers have spent by far the most time interviewing high-level personnel this offseason, and now the team is entering its third week without a head coach or general manager. But some clarity could be coming on both fronts.
Falcons OC Kyle Shanahan and Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst have emerged in front for the HC and GM jobs, respectively, as the team searches to fully move on from Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke. Gutekunst impressed the 49ers in his interview and is a frontrunner as of now, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets, before adding Shanahan could have a say in this matter.
Recent Packers promoted executives Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf were among the nine candidates to interview for the 49ers job, and Alex Marvez of the Sporting News confirms Breer’s report about positive buzz coming out of the Gutekunst-49ers summit (Twitter link). Marvez adds the 49ers are have pared this list down and bring in finalists for secondary interviews this week. It can be assumed the 43-year-old Gutekunst, an 18-year Packers employee, is one of the finalists. One of the candidates, Cardinals VP of player personnel Terry McDonough, preferred Shanahan throughout this process, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com notes (on Twitter).
As for Shanahan, he appears to have a relatively clear path to his first HC job. The 49ers do not plan to restart the interview process after highly touted candidate Josh McDaniels withdrew his name from consideration. The 37-year-old assistant is “by far” the 49ers’ top option, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets, and although he cannot be hired until after the Falcons’ season concludes, he can be brought in for a second interview after the NFC championship game if Atlanta advances to Super Bowl LI. That could be to discuss the GM job if the 49ers hold off on making that decision this week. He’s viewed as the favorite over Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable, something the 49ers have recognized privately in recent days, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.