The outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ NFC Championship game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers will determine how quickly the 49ers can move in securing Kyle Shanahan as the team’s next head coach.
If the Falcons lose, the 49ers will have a second meeting with Shanahan early in the week, during which team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe would be expected to finalize the deal.
But if the Falcons win and advance to the Super Bowl, the early part of Shanahan’s week would be spent game-planning and preparing to face the AFC representative. The second interview with the 49ers would be scheduled for Friday.
Shanahan is also expected to be involved in the 49ers’ hiring of the general manager.
Now, let’s dip into our 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions posted on our Facebook page:
Q: Do you think Mike Shanahan will have any role in the team? (Robert Allen Swenor)
A: Mike Shanahan, of course, is the father of presumptive 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Aside from that, it does not appear as if Mike will have an official role with the club.
A question that must be asked is this: Does Kyle Shanahan benefit from having his father in the building? The answer is, probably not.
Of course, this is not to say the elder Shanahan will not have some level of influence with the 49ers.
If the 49ers close the deal with Kyle Shanahan, as both sides expect right now, Mike Shanahan will undoubtedly be a valuable resource to his son. I’m sure Mike Shanahan will attend some practices in training camp and during the regular season. He will always serve as a mentor to his son.
Q: Do you think that the 49ers are going after particular D-coordinators based on their own desires or are they quietly doing it on behalf of Shanahan's request? (Eddie SF Torres)
A: Whenever someone interviews for a head-coaching position, that individual presents a wish list of the assistants he plans to pursue to join his staff.
The 49ers have gone after Vic Fangio and Gus Bradley to serve as the defensive coordinator on the next staff. The Chicago Bears declined to allow Fangio the opportunity to leave. Bradley decided on joining the Los Angeles Chargers instead of the 49ers or Washington.
The 49ers feel confident Shanahan will become their next coach. It's also safe to assume Shanahan expressed his wishes at defensive coordinator – and, perhaps, other coaching positions on his future staff.
Q: Should the team draft a QB or get a free agent? (Greg Luthy)
One of the interesting things about both of the two serious head-coach candidates is each lined up neatly with a quarterback. In the case of Josh McDaniels, it was easy to connect the dots on a possible trade for New England backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Obviously, Kirk Cousins is the quarterback who could be available for the 49ers to add with Shanahan in charge. Shanahan coached Cousins for two seasons with Washington, during which he made just four starts.
Cousins has emerged in the past two seasons. He made $20 million last year on the franchise tag. And he would make at least $24 million this season under the same tag.
If Washington places the exclusive franchise tag on Cousins at a higher one-year price, he would be completely off the market. But, otherwise, there would be room for the 49ers to sign him at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington.
It seems obvious the 49ers would at least inquire about the chances to acquiring Cousins.
So, back to the original question, expect the 49ers to add a veteran quarterback or two in the weeks after the beginning of the new league year on March 9.
Then, seven weeks later, there’s the NFL Draft. Which veteran quarterback(s) the 49ers acquire will determine their needs in the draft.
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