Colts announce interviews with GM candidates, including 49ers finalist

Colts announce interviews with GM candidates, including 49ers finalist

The Indianapolis Colts will interview six candidates for their vacant general manager position, including five individuals who met with the 49ers.

Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton, who is a finalist for the 49ers’ job, has an interview scheduled with the Colts, the team announced on Wednesday. Colts owner Jim Irsay announced the firing of general manager Ryan Grigson on Saturday.

Irsay said he was committed to retaining head coach Chuck Pagano for the 2017 season.

Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough are scheduled for second interviews with the 49ers on Saturday in Atlanta. Presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, is expected to take part in the general manager interviews to help select the 49ers’ next general manager.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5, but the general manager position could be filled before then.

The Colts' list also includes Kansas City director of football operations Chris Ballard, who declined to interview with the 49ers. League sources tell CSNBayArea.com that Ballard expressed a desire to remain with the Chiefs.

The Colts will also interview in-house candidate Jimmy Raye III, the team’s interim general manager and vice president of player personnel. Raye interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 8 but did not make it to a second round of interviews.

Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Seattle co-diretors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer are also among the six candidates the Colts will interview.

Wolf removed his name from contention for the 49ers’ job last week when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be hired, reported Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Packers intend to give Wolf a new title and his third promotion and five years, according to the report.

Kirchner pulled out of the running, along with coach candidate Tom Cable, when both men became convinced the 49ers were targeting Shanahan and a GM candidate of his choosing, according to sources. The 49ers informed Fitterer he did not make the cut past the first round of interviews.

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”