49ers Rumors

49ers Rumors: Garoppolo, Bosa

The story in the Bay Area for the last two months has been the play of 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. But for a team that has already seen their top two quarterback options for the season go down with injury, the prospect of having to turn to veteran, journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson is not an extremely attractive one as they prepare for the conference championship and Super Bowl. It was good news, then, when head coach Kyle Shanahan reported earlier this week that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had an “outside chance” of being available for this weekend’s game with a Super Bowl trip being even more likely, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner.

A more recent update from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has clarified that Garoppolo’s most recent X-rays have resulted in in him being downgraded to doubtful for the NFC Championship game. That doesn’t rule him out for the big game in two weeks’ time, though. If the 49ers make it past the Eagles for a trip to Arizona, they may see a significant upgrade to their quarterbacks room.

Purdy would most likely continue in his starting role, as the team has not lost with him at quarterback, but Garoppolo would be a massive upgrade at backup quarterback over Johnson. Johnson was given the roster spot for a reason, but Garoppolo’s years of familiarity and experience with the offense makes him much more suited for success in an emergency situation during the season’s biggest game.

Regardless, as big of a game as it is, San Francisco likely respects Garoppolo too much to rush him back into play if he’s not ready. If there is any danger of further injury, expect the two-deep to show Purdy and Johnson as the top options.

Here’s another rumor for San Francisco as they prepare to join rest of the NFL in the offseason, whether that be in three days or seventeen:

  • Continuing a story from the offseason, the 49ers still have every intention of extending star defensive end Nick Bosa. While the NFL’s reigning sack leader does have a fifth-year option on his rookie contract, San Francisco has no intention of letting him get anywhere near that close to free agency. According to a report from Rapoport, Bosa’s expectation will be nothing short of becoming the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Currently, by annual average value, that honor belongs to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who makes $31.67MM per year, with Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt coming in a far off second at $28MM per year. Bosa’s older brother, Chargers outside linebacker Joey Bosa, currently sits in third at $27MM per year. The younger Bosa will demand a pretty penny, but San Francisco has made a point to invest in its young assets recently, rewarding such players as wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tackle Trent Williams, tight end George Kittle, and running back Christian McCaffrey handsomely. Expect that trend to continue as they attempt to lock down the potential 2022 Defensive Player of the Year.

DeMeco Ryans Advancing In Broncos’ Search; Sean Payton Souring On Team’s Ownership?

7:35pm: Payton has provided information straight from the source, disputing that there is any truth to Maske’s report of his fears of a power struggle in Denver with a tweet this evening. Payton denies that any issue exists with Broncos’ ownership stating that they were fantastic and that they “had a great visit.”

Ryans is still gaining traction and Caldwell and Shaw are also strong contenders, while Quinn has stated his desire to remain in Dallas, but if Payton is to be taken at his word, he should still be considered one of the favorites for this position.

3:01pm: Vowing to be “ultra aggressive” in its first coaching search, the Broncos’ new ownership came into this process with a goal of adding an experienced head coach. Recent developments may be leading the team in a different direction.

DeMeco Ryans has emerged as a frontrunner in this race, Mike Klis of 9News reports. The second-year 49ers defensive coordinator met with the Broncos and Texans late last week, nixing interviews with the Cardinals and Colts, and has been steadily rising in this race. While the Broncos are still considering Sean Payton, Jim Caldwell and Dan Quinn, Ryans’ rise is obviously notable considering his accomplishments with the 49ers this season.

But the team has cooled on Payton, Denver7’s Troy Renck adds (via Twitter). Payton also looks to have lost some interest in this job. A sense of what might have changed emerged Thursday. Recently, the former Saints HC was believed to be high on the Broncos’ new ownership group. Now, it might be a negative for the FOX analyst. Payton fears a potential power struggle with one member of the contingent, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. Payton would want to work with Russell Wilson, who reached out to him recently, and is believed to be high on Denver’s defensive pieces. But an issue with ownership may well nix this potential partnership.

Rob Walton, CEO Greg Penner and co-owner Condoleezza Rice have been the ownership group’s key members during this search, joining GM George Paton. The latter is the only experienced football staffer involved here, given the ownership contingent arriving last summer, but Penner is set to make the final call on the team’s second HC hire in two years. It does not seem Rice, who joined the group after the Walton family, is Payton’s concern. The veteran HC has “loved” his interactions with the former Secretary of State, Maske adds (on Twitter).

The Broncos have not gone through second interviews yet, separating their search from this year’s other four. The Panthers just made their hire — Frank Reich — after interviewing he and Steve Wilks twice. If the Broncos want to hold a second interview with Ryans, they must wait until Jan. 30 because of the 49ers’ advancement to the NFC championship game.

David Shaw was believed to be a sleeper candidate for this position, but Klis omitted the longtime Stanford HC from the team’s mix Thursday. Shaw stepped down from his Cardinal post after three losing seasons in the past four years. Penner and Rice’s Stanford ties were thought to represent key connective tissue to Shaw, but Denver going with an NFL-seasoned coach makes sense given the recent failures of college hires.

Ryans, 38, has helmed the NFL’s top-ranked defense this season and has been viewed as likely to land one of this year’s jobs for a bit now. All five HC-needy teams reached out to the former linebacker. The Texans remain in the mix for their former defender, per Klis, but they certainly look to have competition from the Broncos.

2023 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, 10 NFL teams hired new head coaches. Following the Panthers’ hire, this year’s vacancy count sits at four. Last year’s Saints and Buccaneers moves, however, showed these job openings can emerge at unexpected points.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 1-26-23 (4:36pm CT)

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Commanders Request OC Interview With Anthony Lynn

Anthony Lynn is back on the coordinator radar. The Commanders have requested permission to interview the 49ers assistant head coach/running backs coach for the offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post (on Twitter). A formal request will be made following the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, per ESPN’s John Keim (on Twitter).

This is the first time Lynn’s name has come up this offseason. The 54-year-old joined the 49ers last year as an assistant head coach, but when it was announced that Bobby Turner wouldn’t be back in 2022, Lynn also took on the title of running backs coach. The 49ers dealt with a number of RB injuries prior to their acquisition of Christian McCaffrey, but the team’s rushing attack still finished top-10 in yards, touchdowns, and yards per attempt.

Lynn has lost a bit of his shine in recent years. After being hired as the Chargers head coach in 2017, he guided the team to a 9-7 record during his first season at the helm. The Chargers improved to 12-4 and won a playoff game in 2018, but the wheels fell off during a 5-11 2019 campaign. Lynn was kept around for the 2020 season, but following a 7-9 finish, we was let go by the organization. Lynn quickly landed on his feet when he was hired as the Lions OC, but he was canned after only one season in Detroit.

Former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and Dolphins quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell declined Washington’s interview request. Lynn is now the sixth known candidate for the OC position previously held by Scott Turner:

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spins, many of the league’s offensive and defensive coordinator positions are open as well. Teams seeking new head coaches will soon begin OC and DC searches — some have already started those processes — but a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

The Browns and Patriots have begun 2023’s coordinator hires. Here are the rest of the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 1-26-23 (10:06pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Carolina Panthers 

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

Broncos, Interim HC Jerry Rosburg Part Ways?

Broncos interim head coach Jerry Rosburg recently threw his hat in the ring for the team’s full-time job, but the veteran coach won’t be sticking around Denver in any capacity. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter), Rosburg has been let go by the Broncos and won’t be a part of the next coaching staff. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport seems to confirm (on Twitter) that Rosburg won’t be the team’s next coach, but he notes that today’s news is merely procedural and the veteran coach could be back in Denver next season.

[RELATED: Jerry Rosburg Interested In Remaining HC]

Rosburg was coaxed out of retirement last offseason to assist new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett with in-game management. Hackett, of course, didn’t last the season, and after defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero declined to take on the interim HC mantle, the Broncos turned to Rosburg. In his new role, the veteran coach immediately shook up the coaching staff, firing special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry.

The team responded to the changes. After losing in blowout fashion to the Rams on Christmas, the Broncos took the Chiefs down to the wire before defeating the Chargers’ starters in the season finale. We heard that team executives were pleased with the interim head coach’s performance and let him state his case to remove the interim tag following the season.

Instead, the team will turn elsewhere for their next head coach. Earlier today, Troy Renck of Denver7.com wrote that 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and former Stanford head coach David Shaw were “gaining momentum” for the head coaching job. We also heard yesterday that Sean Payton’s candidacy was losing steam in Denver, removing another candidate from the list (alongside Rosburg and Jim Harbaugh, who pulled out of the race after deciding to stick with Michigan). Evero ended up interviewing for the job a few weeks ago, and the organization later blocked the Falcons’ request to interview him for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

As for Rosburg, there’s a good chance the 67-year-old coach heads back to retirement. Rosburg has been coaching since the 1970s, and he got his first NFL gig when he was hired as the Browns special teams coordinator in 2001. He’d end up spending 18 years in the NFL prior to his first retirement, including a decade-long stint as the Ravens ST coordinator.

49ers DE Charles Omenihu Arrested On Domestic Violence Charge

JANUARY 25: Kyle Shanahan said Omenihu is on track to play against the Eagles on Sunday, noting the team will let the legal process play out. While the optics here are not great, teams do not generally make a habit of suspending players. The NFL will review the Omenihu incident, and if a suspension is to come, it likely will affect Omenihu’s availability next season.

JANUARY 24: San Jose police arrested 49ers defensive end Charles Omenihu on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge Monday afternoon, according to the San Jose Mercury News’ Robert Salonga.

A woman told police her boyfriend, Omenihu, pushed her to the ground during an argument Monday, Police booked the 25-year-old defender into the Santa Clara County Main Jail, but he has since posted bail. The 49ers announced they are gathering further information about the incident.

Officers “did not observe any visible physical injuries,” Salonga adds, and the woman, despite mentioning pain in her arm, did not seek medical attention. The woman requested an emergency protective order, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle adds, and Omenihu must stay away from her while it is in effect.

The arrest could produce a future suspension for Omenihu under the NFL’s personal conduct policy, and although the 49ers are not obligated to suspend the rotational edge defender, Monday’s incident clouds his availability for the NFC championship game.

The 49ers acquired Omenihu ahead of the 2021 trade deadline, sending a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Texans for the former fifth-round draftee. The former Texas Longhorn has played a steady role off the bench for San Francisco, totaling 4.5 sacks this season. Omenihu, who left the 49ers’ divisional playoff game early with an oblique injury, notched two sacks in the team’s wild-card win over the Seahawks and finished with 1.5 in last year’s wild-card victory in Dallas. Omenihu returned to the 49ers’ Sunday win over the Cowboys, and prior to the arrest report, Kyle Shanahan expected him to play against the Eagles.

Coaching Notes: Colts, Rams, Patriots

The Colts are moving on to second interviews with some head coaching candidates, but they’re still hoping to get one individual in the building for a first interview. According to Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the Colts still want to speak with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

The Colts have been trying to nail down an interview with Ryans for a few weeks. The organization was expected to finally speak with him on Sunday, but with the 49ers advancing to the NFC Championship Game, the coach once again put his interview on hold.

The coordinator already spoke with the Texans and Broncos about their HC jobs, and he also postponed an interview with the Cardinals. As Maaddi details, NFL rules allow Ryans to have second interviews with the Texans and Broncos next week, regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s game. However, the NFL’s “window for first interviews” has close, so he’ll have to wait until the end of the 49ers’ season to speak with the Colts and Cardinals.

We heard earlier today that Ejiro Evero will be getting a second interview with the Colts, and per Maaddi, the organization is expected to advance “six or seven other candidates” to the second round. Another name that should get a second meeting with the organization is interim head coach Jeff Saturday, according to Maaddi.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Sean McVay continues to shake up his coaching staff, and that’s led him to an assistant coach in Chicago. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter), the Rams have requested permission to interview Bears assistant offensive line coach Austin King. The former NFL player would presumably be eyeing a promotion in Los Angeles, and he could fill multiple roles considering his experience coaching tight ends with the Raiders.
  • Former Patriots lineman Adrian Klemm previously interviewed for New England’s offensive coordinator job, a position that ultimately went to Bill O’Brien. However, it sounds like the Patriots are still considering recruiting Klemm to their staff. According to TheMMQB’s Albert Breer (on Twitter), another meeting is anticipated between the coach and the Patriots. Klemm spent the 2022 season as Oregon’s associate head coach, run game coordinator, and offensive line coach. He previously spent time on the Steelers staff, serving as assistant OL coach before earning a promotion to OL coach in 2021.
  • With O’Brien back in New England, focus turns to the status of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge after the duo led the Patriots‘ offense in 2022. ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes that Patricia should be able to carve out a role on New England’s staff in 2023 considering his familiarity with the organization and his relationship with Bill Belichick. However, since the Lions are no longer picking up the tab, it remains to be seen if the Patriots will be willing to compensate the coach accordingly. Meanwhile, Reiss could see see Judge sticking around New England, but the writer is skeptical about the coach returning to his natural ST role. Judge officially spent last season as the Patriots quarterbacks coach, a designation that “surprised people both inside and outside the organization,” according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
  • There’s still no clarity on what Jerod Mayo‘s new role will be in New England, but he could be facing a significant promotion. Some pundits have suggested that Belichick could be preparing the former linebacker to eventually take over as head coach, and Breer tweets that Mayo was alongside his boss for all of the organization’s offensive coordinator interviews last week.

Injured Reserve Return Tracker

After two years of giving teams free rein on injured reserve transactions, the NFL reinstated limitations this offseason. Teams can now activate up to eight players from injured reserve. That has reintroduced some strategy into how franchises are proceeding with their activations.

Players who were carried over to 53-man rosters after cutdown day must reside on their respective injured list for at least four weeks. Once a team designates a player for return, meaning the player returns to practice, the activation clock starts. Teams have 21 days from those return-to-practice points to activate that player. If no activation commences in that window, the player reverts to season-ending IR.

Here is how the eight remaining teams’ IR situations stack up for the championship round:

Cincinnati Bengals

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 4

Kansas City Chiefs

Designated for return:

Activations remaining: 5

Philadelphia Eagles

Designated for return:

Eligible for activation:

Activations remaining: 1

San Francisco 49ers

Activations remaining: 0

DeMeco Ryans Planning HC Interviews With Broncos, Cardinals, Colts, Texans

JANUARY 23: Ryans ended up cancelling his Sunday interviews with the Cardinals and Colts due to the tight timeline, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports notes (video link). With the 49ers having advanced to the NFC title game, he will not be eligible to meet with either team until next Monday at the earliest.

JANUARY 22: Sunday will be a busy day for Ryans. Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Ryans will interview with both the Cardinals and Colts on Sunday, prior to the 49ers’ divisional round contest against the Cowboys (video link). Fowler adds that Ryans’ Texans summit went late into the evening on Friday, so it sounds as if the two sides had a productive conversation.

JANUARY 19: Ryans is, in fact, planning to interview with all four teams this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Despite an already-busy schedule, the 49ers assistant will meet with the Cardinals and Colts this week. This represents quite the workload for the coveted staffer and offers the latest example of the annual issues that arise from the NFL letting teams interview assistants during the postseason.

JANUARY 17: Because of NFL rules allowing teams to interview HC candidates during the week of divisional-round games, DeMeco Ryans is mired in one of the busier periods in recent coaching-carousel history. The 49ers’ defensive coordinator is planning to meet with four of the five teams in search of a head coach.

Already confirmed to be meeting with the Broncos this week, Ryans will also meet with the Texans on Friday. Kyle Shanahan said (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter) his second-year DC is interviewing for the Denver and Houston jobs this week while indicating Arizona and Indianapolis meetings are on Ryans’ docket for sometime after this week. The Panthers requested a Ryans interview, but nothing is scheduled at this point.

Not much is known on the Cardinals’ HC front. Only four candidates — Ryans, Vance Joseph, Brian Flores and Sean Payton — have been connected to Arizona’s search. The team preferred to hire its GM first, and with Monti Ossenfort now officially in place in that role, the HC search will accelerate. The Cardinals have become familiar with Ryans’ work, having faced the 49ers four times since he took over as their defensive play-caller in 2021.

Rumored to be considering passing on an interview with the team that drafted him, the former Texans linebacker is now set to discuss the position with the Nick Caserio-led regime. Ryans indeed deliberated on meeting with the Texans, KPRC’s Aaron Wilson notes. Ryans sued the Texans and the NFL after suffering an Achilles tear at NRG Stadium in 2014. That $10MM lawsuit centered around NRG Stadium’s playing surface. An Eagles starter in 2014, Ryans alleged the injury led to a premature ending to his career — one he said would have lasted beyond its 2015 endpoint had that injury not occurred.

The Texans drafted Ryans in the 2006 second round and immediately plugged him in as a starter. Ryans operated as a starter throughout his six-year stay in Houston and signed a second contract with the team in 2010. The Texans traded him to the Eagles in 2012. Ryans caught on with Shanahan, an ex-Texans assistant, in 2017 as a quality control coach and has since become one of the NFL’s hottest HC candidates.

Ryans’ 49ers defense finished the season first in yards, points and DVOA; he has been expected to land one of the available HC jobs for a bit now. Such a move would follow the Jets’ hire of former 49ers DC Robert Saleh and provide San Francisco with two third-round picks, thanks to a Rooney Rule adjustment that rewards teams who see minority assistants land HC gigs or front office staffers hired as GMs.