Tom Rathman

AFC South Notes: Colts, Melvin, Jaguars, Lee

Let’s take a quick spin around the AFC South:

  • The Colts intend to allow free agent cornerback Rashaan Melvin hit the open market, general manager Chris Ballard told reporters, including Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). That’s perhaps unsurprising given that Melvin is one of the more intriguing and unproven players scheduled to hit free agency next month. Melvin, 28, had appeared in only 12 games and made two starts before joining the Colts in 2016. He’s since started 19 games over the past two seasons, and was outstanding in 2017, grading as the NFL’s No. 17 cornerback, per Pro Football Focus. While Melvin could certainly become a diamond in the rough for a team who trusts him as a full-time starter, it’s also possible he turns back into a pumpkin, so there’s risk involved in his free agent case.
  • While the Jaguars hope to retain free agent wideout Allen Robinson, they’re “far more likely” to to sign several cheaper options than pay up for Robinson, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who points to fellow Jacksonville free agent Marqise Lee as an alternative for general manager Dave Caldwell & Co. The Jaguars are reportedly open to using the franchise tag on Robinson, which would enable them to keep their top pass-catcher for a one-year cost of ~$16MM. However, Jacksonville is relatively cap-strapped, so adding multiple low-cost options could make more financial sense for the team.
  • The Colts have continued to fill out Frank Reich‘s staff by hiring Tom Rathman as running backs coach and Kevin Patullo as wide receivers coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (multiple stories). Rathman previously served two stints with the 49ers, but he won’t coaching his former pupil Frank Gore, whom Indianapolis does not plan to re-sign. In addition to his work in San Francisco, Rathmaan has also coached in Detroit and Oakland. Patullo, meanwhile, has led quarterbacks and wide receivers in stops with the Jets, Titans, and Bills, but spent 2017 as an analyst for Texas A&M.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Glennon, Bears

Longtime running backs coach Tom Rathman won’t return to the 49ers‘ staff despite Kyle Shanahan‘s interest in retaining him. Shanahan recently gave Rathman’s job to veteran running backs instructor Bobby Turner after promising he would upon landing a head coaching position. Rathman will pursue options elsewhere as a result.

I’m not going to be back,” Rathman said, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “I feel like it’s the best for everybody if I just parted and let those guys do their thing and take me out of the equation so that nobody’s uncomfortable. I’m looking to coach running backs and that’s what I want to do. I’m just going to wait for the next opportunity and go for it when it happens.”

Shanahan and new GM John Lynch met with Rathman on Thursday in an attempt to find another position for him, but the 54-year-old coach didn’t think such a role existed that made sense. Rathman coached the 49ers’ backs since 2009 and previously served on Steve Mariucci’s staff from 1997-2002, doing so after a playing career highlighted by starting roles on two 49ers Super Bowl champions. Rathman told Maiocco he would take a year off if necessary but wants to stay in the NFL coaching ranks.

Here’s more out of San Francisco and other NFC cities.

  • Should Colin Kaepernick not opt out of his 49ers deal, Maiocco expects the team to release him to avoid being on the hook for a $14.9MM salary in 2017. The sides could then discuss another contract, with Kaepernick potentially opening a door to a return by contacting Lynch recently. Lynch and Kaepernick are expected to meet in the near future. Kaepernick has vacillated on the opt-out decision. He would generate interest on the market and add another big name to the list of potentially available quarterbacks, joining Jay Cutler, Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers have been linked to both Cutler and Garoppolo, along with Kirk Cousins, who could be Shanahan’s first choice.
  • Speaking of Cutler, the Bears extending the polarizing talent in 2014 came against the preference of members of the then-Marc Trestman-led coaching staff, but then-GM Phil Emery made the move anyway, John Mullen of CSNChicago.com writes. The Bears are now likely to move on from Cutler after eight seasons since the aforementioned seven-year, $126MM contract leaves them a 2017 escape hatch.
  • Mullen adds the conventional sense is Brian Hoyer will return to the Bears as a stopgap solution. Hoyer threw for 300 yards in four of five starts before going down with a broken arm, completing 67 percent of his passes and not throwing an interception. The UFA passer could have options as a backup plan for other teams, however, forcing the Bears to up the ante if they want to keep the 31-year-old passer. Bringing Hoyer back as a mentor-type player for a to-be-determined draft pick — and short-term starter — strikes Mullen as a reasonable idea due to the team’s positive view of him as a veteran leader.
  • Mike Glennon serves as another UFA option, but has an interesting profile. At least six teams inquired about Glennon’s availability during the 2014 draft to Buccaneers GM Jason Licht, per FanRag Sports’ Roy Cummings, but that interest diminished as years passed. Glennon drew “a couple” of trade inquiries in the 2015 draft, and the soon-to-be backup quarterback did not draw any offers during the ’16 draft or before last season’s trade deadline, Cummings notes. However, his sample size — 18 starts, with 30 TD passes and 15 INTs mixed in — makes him a less volatile commodity than Brock Osweiler in Cummings’ mind. Glennon is expected to draw interest as a free agent, with the bidding potentially going as high as $15MM per year. The Jets are reportedly intrigued by Jameis Winston‘s former backup.

49ers Rumors: Kap, Shanahan, Staff, Reid

Colin Kaepernick appears to be warming to the idea of staying in San Francisco. While it’s uncertain if that’s in John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan‘s plans at this juncture, the 29-year-old quarterback reached out to Lynch. Kaepernick and the new 49ers GM plan to meet soon, Lynch said Thursday (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).

It will be a football decision,” Lynch said regarding Kaepernick’s status, “but I think part of that, there are different layers to that. I think everything will be included in the decision. I’m not talking specifically about his stance, though. When you have a quarterback, the great ones are leaders of men. All those things will be taken into account. Colin and I, when I did some 49ers games, I’d say we hit it off. I’d say there was a trust there. I think that trust extends, and I was thrilled when he reached out. I’m looking forward to talking with him.”

Shanahan said he will evaluate Kaepernick on film in the coming weeks. Many other signal-callers, like Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, have been linked to the 49ers in recent weeks, and the team can save $16.9MM by cutting Kaepernick. Previously believed to be opting out, Kaepernick is now in wait-and-see mode, joining the new-look 49ers in that regard. He’s the only quarterback under contract with the 49ers for 2017, even if that contract is not exactly binding.

Here’s more coming out of San Francisco.

  • The official delegation of autonomy came down, and Shanahan will indeed be one of the handful of coaches with 53-man roster control. Lynch will oversee the 90-man roster, free agency and the draft, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets. Shanahan elaborated on his decision not to ask more from the 49ers in terms of control after being in a position of leverage due to the team’s eventful head coaching search. “I didn’t want to demand all of it,” Shanahan said. “What’s important to you? I’ve always thought none of it matters if you’re working with the right guy. So it’s what do you want to put down on paper? And I don’t need all that down on paper. It was important to me to have the 53 on paper because I think it’s important that the players know that.”
  • Shanahan made a commitment to former Falcons running backs coach Bobby Turner to follow him to his first HC job “a long time ago,” but he wants previous RBs coach Tom Rathman to stay with the team in a different capacity, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com notes. The former fullback has spent the past eight seasons on the 49ers’ staff, dating back to the Mike Singletary regime. “I love Tom Rathman. He’s a hero of mine, and I know what kind of coach he is. I’m trying hard to get him to be here in whatever other role he wants,” Shanahan said. “But I know Tom. Tom is a running backs coach. I’m going to try my hardest to keep him here. It’s definitely going to be up to him.”
  • One of the many players placed on IR during the 49ers’ 2-14 season, Eric Reid looks to be on track to return by OTAs, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports. Reid tore a biceps tendon in late November but told Wagoner a doctor informed him if there was a game this week he would be able to practice. Entering his fifth season, the safety will make $5.676MM as part of the fifth-year option the team exercised.
  • Lynch does not have a known preference on what kind of defensive scheme he wants the team to utilize. He said (via Nick Wagoner, on Twitter) he’s talked with DC options with backgrounds in multiple fronts. Former Jaguars linebackers coach Robert Saleh, current Patriots ‘backers boss Brian Flores and Falcons passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson are known options thus far. The 49ers have long used a 3-4 alignment, but most of the players from their early-2010s defensively geared run are no longer on the team. That said, 5-technique ends Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner arrived as first-round investments the past two years.

49ers Won’t Hire Offensive Coordinator

New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan will likely call the offensive plays in San Francisco, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Additionally, Shanahan is expected to hire former Falcons assistant Mike McDaniel as a run game coordinator and Wagner College offensive coordinator (and former Falcons staffer) Rich Scangarello as quarterbacks coach, per Rapoport. Ex-Atlanta running backs coach Bobby Turner is also headed to San Francisco, tweets Gil Brandt of NFL.com.Kyle Shanahan (Vertical)

[RELATED: 49ers Could Have Interest In Jay Cutler]

Given that the 49ers aren’t expected to hire a formal offensive coordinator, San Francisco will head into the 2017 campaign with inexperience infecting many areas of the club’s structure. New general manger John Lynch has never worked in an NFL front office, while Shanahan is not only a first-time head coach, but will act as his own OC and lean on a QBs coach in Scangarello whose most recent coaching experience comes at an FCS school. In addition, Shanahan will oversee some of the club’s personnel aspects, as he’ll exert control over the 49ers’ 53-man roster.

As for the rest of San Francisco’s coaching staff, Shanahan is reportedly interested in hiring co-defensive coordinators, with Atlanta passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson and former Jaguars linebackers coach Robert Saleh emerging as the most likely candidates for the positions. On offense, the 49ers still want to keep former RBs coach Tom Rathman on staff in some capacity even after adding Turner, tweets Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coach Rumors: Jaguars, 49ers, Eagles, Bucs

After showing interest in Jim Schwartz before he was named the Eagles’ new defensive coordinator, the Jaguars have turned their attention in another direction as they search for a defensive play-caller. Jacksonville is today interviewing Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson for their DC vacancy, reports Albert Breer of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is “involved in [the Jaguars’] process” of finding a defensive coordinator to replace the fired Bob Babich, but he is not in line for a formal coaching position with the club, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Twitter links).

Henderson, 46, has been in high demand this offseason, and even interviewed for a head coaching position (Browns) earlier this month. Dallas’ defensive backs coach since 2012, Henderson, who also has a background in player development, was also linked to jobs on Miami’s new staff.

Let’s look at some news from the coaching front:

  • New 49ers head coach Chip Kelly is likely to keep one offensive coach, as Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports (via Twitter) that running backs coach Tom Rathman is expected to remain on staff. Meanwhile, both incumbent special teams coach Thomas McGaughey and assistant Richard Hightower are in contention for San Francisco’s ST coordinator position, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).
  • Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced during his introductory press conference that running backs coach Duce Staley — who interviewed for Philadelphia’s top job — will be retained, Neil Hartman of CSNPhilly.com tweets.
  • The Packers have shuffled their offensive staff, firing both running backs coach Sam Gash (per Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Twitter) and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot (per Tom Silverstein of MJS on Twitter).
  • Confirming four previously-reported hires, the Buccaneers announced that special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor, secondary coach Jon Hoke, defensive line coach Jay Hayes, and linebackers coach Mark Duffner have been added to the club’s staff.

West Notes: Los Angeles, 49ers, Maclin

The Carson presentation drew laughs from the owners once Disney Chairman Robert Iger mentioned how he’d paid the owners plenty of money over the years. That comment, and a Jerry Jones joke following Iger’s exit from the room, helped escalate the downward-trending Carson initiative’s demise, according to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

He said he paid us. Last time I checked, that money is coming from Disney shareholders, not him,” Jones told his fellow owners during Tuesday’s relocation summit in Houston, per Farmer.

The owners voted 19-13 on whether their votes would be secret. After two votes, the Inglewood project received 21, three shy of the majority needed to relocate the Rams.

Roger Goodell then ushered Stan Kroenke, Dean Spanos and Mark Davis into a private room for an hour-long negotiation. Upon the trio’s return, Davis announced the Raiders were pulling out of the race, Farmer reports. The agreement that gives the Chargers a one-year window to decide on relocating to Inglewood had been discussed for more than six months.

Farmer also notes Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who had been vocal about his support for the Carson project and helped attach Iger to it, was silent most of the day.

Here is some more on Los Angeles and the latest on the Western-stationed franchises.

  • With economists estimating the Chargers can expect three to five times more revenue in Los Angeles than in San Diego, a source tells Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune “at least 10 teams” would be lining up to take the joint-tenant deal in Inglewood if the Chargers wouldn’t. Acee also reports there’s talk of a bit more than the $100MM the NFL offered to help keep the Raiders and Chargers in their respective cities available to the Chargers if they were to make things work in San Diego. Spanos could leverage San Diego with the deal the Chargers would be in line to receive alongside the Rams if in fact San Diego is serious about keeping the franchise, Acee writes. But San Diego now will entertain the notion of bringing another team to the city.
  • Patriots president Jonathan Kraft said Kroenke will be spending between $3 billion and $3.5 billion to relocate the Rams, factoring in the $550MM relocation fee and the Rams’ new stadium (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, on Twitter).
  • Several members of the 49ers‘ staff from last season has reportedly packed up and moved their things out of the team’s facility, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports (on Twitter). Chip Kelly met with defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, per Maiocco, but the future of the San Francisco coaching staff is highly uncertain at this point. Kelly will meet with running backs coach Tom Rathman next week, Maiocco tweets. The former 49ers fullback’s been on the 49ers’ staff since 2009 and had to instruct one of the most injury-ravaged units in the NFL this season.
  • Former Eagles quarterbacks coach Ryan Day is under consideration for the job of 49ers offensive coordinator, ESPN reports (via Maiocco). A former New Hampshire player under Kelly, Day joined Kelly with the Eagles last season after being Boston College’s OC in 2013-14.
  • Both Eagles defensive line coaches, Jerry Azzinaro and Mike Dawson, are the most likely coaches to follow Kelly from Philadelphia, Maiocco reports. Azzinaro’s been Kelly’s D-line coach for the past seven seasons, doing so at Oregon from 2009-12 and with the Eagles since 2013.
  • Maiocco also reports (via Twitter) the 49ers could be considering Buccaneers tight ends coach Jon Embree for a spot on their staff if Dirk Koetter doesn’t retain him. The Colorado head coach in 2011-12, the 50-year-old Embree’s coached tight ends for the Chiefs, Washington, Browns and Bucs since 2006. He’s been with Tampa Bay since 2014.
  • A mutual interest in acquiring players with length and size could help Kelly and GM Trent Baalke work well together with the 49ers, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch notes.
  • The Chiefs declared Jeremy Maclin active for today’s game against the Patriots, but their top wideout reportedly had trouble walking during the week of preparation, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Maclin did not practice this week due to the high-ankle sprain he suffered last Saturday against the Texans.

Coach Notes: 49ers, Jets, Falcons, Raiders

After promoting one coach earlier today, it sounds like the 49ers will be parting ways with the rest of their coaching staff. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez reports (via Twitter) that the organization plans on dismissing all assistants except running backs coach Tom Rathman. A member of that coaching staff told CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco that they are “in the dark” regarding the team’s plans (Twitter link). Its unclear if any of the remaining coordinators, including defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, are safe.

Meanwhile, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee tweets that “several” 49ers assistants will likely join former offensive coordinator Greg Roman with the Bills, while others will likely follow Fangio.

Let’s take a look at some more coaching notes from around the league…

  • Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is set to interview with the Broncos on Friday, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Austin was late arriving to Atlanta, and D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that his second interview with the Falcons will be pushed back to Thursday.
  • The Raiders want to talk to Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice, but Atlanta is denying them permission, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • Cardinals linebacker coach Mike Caldwell will likely join Jets head coach Todd Bowles in New York as the team’s assistant head coach, tweets Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports 910 in Phoenix.
  • ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson says Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is “aiming high” in his coaching staff search, and the writer notes that Kyle Shanahan could be among the offensive coordinator candidates (via Twitter).

Zach Links contributed to this post.