49ers Rumors

49ers To Consider Matthew Stafford Trade?

The biggest NFL story to hit the wire yesterday was that the the Lions are preparing to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford. Immediately after the news broke, pundits began putting together lists of the most likely suitors for Stafford, and the 49ers are high atop most such lists.

Indeed, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle expects the Niners to inquire about Stafford, and Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area says the team is likely to make a decision quickly about whether to be involved in the bidding (Twitter link). The consensus seems to be that it will take a first-round pick plus additional draft compensation to acquire Stafford, and it’s unclear whether GM John Lynch is willing to part with that type of capital.

Of course, the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo under contract through the 2022 season, but he has missed 23 games over the last three years, while Stafford has started every game in nine of the past 10 seasons. Plus, head coach Kyle Shanahan‘s offense, replete with play-action passes, bootlegs, and deep shots, would appear to be a perfect fit for the Lions’ franchise icon.

Money would not be an obstacle either. Stafford will count just $20MM against the cap in 2021 — a rather modest sum for a quality signal-caller — while Garoppolo is scheduled to carry a $26.9MM hit. San Francisco would incur a mere $2.8MM in dead money by trading or releasing Garoppolo, so the club would actually improve its cap situation and (probably) its quarterback play by acquiring Stafford.

Garoppolo does have a no-trade clause written into his contract, but as he is unlikely to fetch a significant return in a trade at this point, dealing him wouldn’t be a condition precedent to a Stafford trade. Matt Barrows of The Athletic wonders just how much of an improvement Stafford would be and if that improvement will be enough to warrant the surrender of the 49ers’ No. 12 overall selection, and that’s a decision that Lynch & Co. will need to make in the coming weeks.

As of now, Lynch does not anticipate using his top draft choice on a collegiate passer, as Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. So if the team doesn’t acquire Stafford or some other veteran, it sounds like Garoppolo will be the 49ers’ 2021 starter, as Shanahan suggested last month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Hire James Bettcher

Former Cardinals and Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher interviewed for the Bears’ DC gig this week, but he will instead head back to the NFC West.

The 49ers will hire Bettcher to work in a senior defensive assistant-type capacity, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Like the Bears, the 49ers filled their defensive coordinator position from within. DeMeco Ryans will replace Robert Saleh, but he will now have a veteran defensive play-caller on staff.

Bettcher, 42, led the Cardinals’ defense from 2015-17, overseeing top-10 defenses before and after Chandler Jones‘ arrival. Bettcher’s Giants units did not fare as well, leading to the experienced assistant taking the 2020 season off. But he will be back in the mix for a talented 49ers unit next season.

Following Todd Bowles becoming the Jets’ head coach in 2015, the Cards promoted Bettcher from outside linebackers coach to DC. The team went 13-3 that season, setting a record for most wins in franchise history. Bettcher’s three-Pro Bowler unit ranked in the top 10 in points and yards. Arizona’s Jones-led 2016 and ’17 defenses were also top 10 in yards. Bettcher’s most recent Giants defense, however, ranked 30th in points allowed.

Ryans has been with the 49ers since 2017, rising quickly from the quality control level to a DC role. He and Bettcher will attempt to replace Saleh, who coaxed quality play from the past two San Francisco defenses — doing so last year despite rampant injury issues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Martin Mayhew To Be Washington’s GM

Jan. 22: Mayhew will indeed be the GM, and Hurney’s official title will be Executive Vice President of Football/Player Personnel, as Rapoport tweets. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network says that both men will report to head coach Ron Rivera, who is still heading football operations (Twitter link).

Jan. 21: Washington was connected to hires of both Marty Hurney and Martin Mayhew this week, with the former being expected to lead the team’s front office. This structure may not be Washington’s preferred hierarchy, however.

It could be Mayhew in line to become Washington’s GM. The former Lions GM is the candidate Washington will go with as general manager, according to ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). Mayhew, who was with the 49ers for four years, will receive a second chance in a GM post.

Washington will still hire Mayhew and Hurney, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, but the latter will be part of a Mayhew-led front office (Twitter link). The ex-Panthers GM will serve as a high-ranking Washington staffer. The Panthers fired Hurney in December, ending his second stint as their front office boss.

The Lions fired Mayhew in 2015, doing so despite the former Washington Super Bowl-winning cornerback helping Detroit to two playoff berths after the franchise sunk to the NFL’s basement during the 2000s. Mayhew spent a year with the Giants before joining John Lynch‘s 49ers staff. The 49ers promoted Mayhew to VP of player personnel in 2019 and stand to benefit from Mayhew’s Washington hire.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule changes last year will mean the team that loses a head coach or executive is entitled to third-round draft compensation. Because the Jets hired Robert Saleh, the 49ers’ third-round pick for Mayhew will come in 2023, according to The Athletic’s Matt Barrows (subscription required). The Saleh move will provide San Francisco with third-rounders this year and next. Overall, the haul stands to be three total Round 3 picks for the 49ers, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News tweets. These selections will come at the end of the round.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: 49ers, Chargers, Jaguars, Eagles

The 49ers‘ staff is starting to come together, as Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes. Chris Foerster has been bumped up to primary offensive line coach while Rich Scangarello will return as the quarterbacks coach. Scangarello served as SF’s QBs coach in 2017 and 2018 before the Broncos tapped him as their OC in 2019. After a rough time in Denver and one year in Philly, he’s headed back to the Bay Area.

Here’s a look at the latest coach and coordinator news:

  • The Chargers will interview Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon for their defensive coordinator job, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Gannon is also being considered by the Bears for their DC role.
  • Meanwhile, new Chargers coach Brandon Staley is bringing Rams assistant Joe Barry along for the ride as his defensive passing game coordinator and linebackers coach (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • The Jaguars have requested an interview with Colts quarterbacks coach Marcus Brady for their offensive coordinator job, as Pelissero tweets.
  • The Eagles are interested in interviewing Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel, according to Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Fassel, the son of ex-Giants head coach Jim Fassel, spent eight years as the Rams’ ST coordinator. He also served as the Rams’ interim head coach for the final three games of 2016.

Washington To Hire Martin Mayhew

One of the candidates Washington considered for its general manager post will head back to the nation’s capital anyway, despite Marty Hurney set to lead the team’s front office.

Martin Mayhew agreed to terms to join Washington’s front office, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The former Lions GM’s role has yet to be determined, but considering he was a high-ranking exec with the 49ers in recent years, Mayhew will soon hold a key position within the Hurney- and Ron Rivera-led power structure.

In addition to bringing nearly eight years’ worth of GM experience, Mayhew will return to the team with which he won a Super Bowl. During an eight-year playing career, Mayhew was a starting cornerback for the dominant 1991 Washington squad — amid a four-year stay in D.C. — but his executive work has occurred primarily in Detroit and San Francisco.

Taking over a franchise in tatters in 2008, Mayhew elevated the Lions back to the playoffs. Detroit returned to the postseason in Mayhew’s third full season, 2011, and was back in the playoffs in 2014 under Jim Caldwell. While the Lions fired Mayhew in 2015, the roster nucleus he put in place made the playoffs in 2016 as well. Mayhew, 55, joined the 49ers in 2017 and served as the organization’s VP of player personnel over the past two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2021 NFL Draft Order

With the Divisional Round in the books, the 2021 NFL Draft order is mostly complete. The Rams, Browns, Ravens, and Saints now have their draft spots locked in, though the Rams’ first-round pick belongs to Urban Meyer and the Jaguars. The Rams traded those rights to Jacksonville as a part of the Jalen Ramsey blockbuster.

Here’s the updated draft order, through the top 28:

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
2. New York Jets
3. Miami Dolphins (via Texans)
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Detroit Lions
8. Carolina Panthers
9. Denver Broncos
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. New York Giants
12. San Francisco 49ers
13. Los Angeles Chargers
14. Minnesota Vikings
15. New England Patriots
16. Arizona Cardinals
17. Las Vegas Raiders
18. Miami Dolphins
19. Washington Football Team
20. Chicago Bears
21. Indianapolis Colts
22. Tennessee Titans
23. New York Jets (via Seahawks)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Rams)
26. Cleveland Browns
27. Baltimore Ravens
28. New Orleans Saints

Jets Hire Mike LaFleur As OC

Robert Saleh is the Jets’ new head coach, and he’s taking his SF friends with him. 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur will serve as his new offensive coordinator, as Mike Silver of NFL.com tweets. Furthermore, Niners offensive line coach John Benton will take on the same job with the Jets while also managing the run game. 

[RELATED: Jets Hire Robert Saleh]

Saleh will also hire at least two more Niners offensive assistants — Greg Knapp has been tapped as the QB coach while Rob Calabrese will be the pass game specialist for Gang Green.

There were seven vacancies in this cycle, and six of those teams requested interviews with Saleh. The Jets came away with the 41-year-old, who is regarded as one of the league’s sharpest defensive minds. Under Saleh’s watch, the 49ers surrendered just 169.2 passing yards per contest in 2019. And, this past year, his unit had the fifth lowest total in total yards surrendered.

The Jets gave Saleh the freedom to build his own staff, something that they were reluctant to do for certain candidates in their last search. For LaFleur, it’s a chance to spread his wings — he’s been with Shanahan since 2014, dating back to his internship with the Browns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Hire DeMeco Ryans As DC, Mike McDaniel As OC

The 49ers have officially promoted inside linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans to defensive coordinator. On the other side of the ball, they’re bumping run game coordinator Mike McDaniel to offensive coordinator, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

[RELATED: 49ers Re-Sign Josh Johnson]

Ryans takes over for former DC Robert Saleh, who has agreed to become the Jets’ new head coach. Many believed that Saleh would try to take Ryans with him to the East Coast, but the 49ers didn’t want to let Ryans get away. Given the work he has done with LBs Dre Greenlaw, Fred Warner, and Azeez Al-Shaair, the young assistant was a natural fit for the role.

McDaniel, meanwhile, takes over for Mike LaFleur, who will serve as Saleh’s OC in New York. McDaniel has worked with Kyle Shanahan at multiple stops and his profile has grown larger over the years. He was a candidate in the Browns’ most recent head coaching search and the Dolphins were also eyeing him as an OC candidate in this cycle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/15/21

Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts given out:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Las Vegas Raiders

  • QB Kyle Sloter

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team