Kyle Shanahan is widely expected to become the 49ers‘ next head coach, and now some are beginning to wonder how he will go about filling out his staff. As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes, it is unlikely that Shanahan will be able to bring many of his Atlanta assistants with him given that most of those assistants are under contract with the Falcons or are loyal to Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. However, Barrows posits that Shanahan could bring current Atlanta quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur to the Bay Area and install him as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator. LaFleur — who would also be a candidate to replace Shanahan as the Falcons’ OC — has worked with Shanahan for eight seasons in Atlanta, Washington, and Houston.
Barrows’ sources also suggest that Bears’ assistant special-teams coach Richard Hightower could become the 49ers’ special teams coordinator. Hightower worked under Shanahan in 2014 as an offensive quality control coach for the Browns.
Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from around the league as we anxiously await next week’s Super Bowl:
- Rich Tandler of CSNMidAtlantic.com does not believe that Redskins head coach Jay Gruden is on the hot seat, as some have speculated. Tandler is unsure if Gruden could survive a 6-10 or worse showing in 2017, but he does not believe it’s playoffs or bust for Gruden, who will be entering his fourth year as Washington’s head coach.
- There is no rush for the Giants to pursue an extension for Odell Beckham, Jr., as James Kratch of NJ.com writes. Between his current rookie deal, the fifth-year option, and the franchise tag, OBJ is locked into the Giants’ roster until at least 2021, so while his future with the team is certainly not in question, New York can afford to wait while they work through their concerns with Beckham.
- Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, one of the top three quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, will not participate in the Senior Bowl despite the Browns‘ specifically requesting that he do so. Although the Browns were reportedly not planning to use their No. 1 overall selection on Watson, Mary Kat Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer suggests that Watson’s decision not only denied him the chance to change the team’s mind in that regard, it may make it tougher for Cleveland to select him with their No. 12 overall choice.
- Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin sat down with Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer to discuss a number of issues, including the 2017 draft and backup quarterback A.J. McCarron. Tobin also mentioned that, although the club re-signed kicker Randy Bullock, Bullock will have an open competition with rookie kickers and/or veteran free agents.
- David Culley, who worked as Andy Reid‘s wide receivers coach with the Eagles and Chiefs, agreed to become the Bills‘ new quarterbacks coach last week. Per Reid, the 60-year-old Culley still harbors aspirations of becoming a head coach, so he did not want to block his longtime assistant from moving up the coaching ladder (article via Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star).
- The current collective bargaining agreement runs through 2020, but commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners owners have expressed an interest in extending the CBA, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. However, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith says that the union will not agree to an extension without renegotiation of certain key issues, though he did not specify what those issues are.