Kyle Shanahan hopes he made decision difficult for Broncos' brass


Kyle Shanahan hopes he made decision difficult for Broncos' brass

Kyle Shanahan was certain he was not going to be hired as the next coach of the team his father led to two Super Bowl titles.

But after a four-hour interview in January 2017, Shanahan seemed to be a serious contender for the Denver Broncos job that ended up going to Vance Joseph. Kansas City special-teams coordinator Dave Toub was the only other candidate for the opening after Gary Kubiak resigned.

“I’d like to think I made the decision hard of them, but I didn’t think I had much of a chance before,” Shanahan said Wednesday, as the 49ers prepare to face the Broncos on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Shanahan’s father, Mike, still lives in the Denver area. Shanahan and his wife, Mandy, still consider that area home.

“But I definitely happy where I’m am, and I think it’s definitely a better situation not being there with my dad,” Shanahan said. “I enjoy going back there to visit, but I like living where I’m at.”

Shanahan interviewed for three head-coaching jobs in the first week of January while he was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator. He met with the 49ers and Broncos on Jan. 6. A day later, he interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Another scheduled interview got canceled when weather issues prevented Rams officials from traveling to Atlanta to meet with Shanahan.

Shanahan interviewed with Broncos general manager John Elway and president Joe Ellis – two men who knew when he was much younger and his father was with the Broncos organization.

Now, Shanahan believes it was probably the better fit to step away from his father’s shadow and take his first head-coaching job with the 49ers, where he hand-picked general manager John Lynch.

But things have not exactly been smooth for Shanahan. After the 49ers went 6-10, the club has fallen to a 2-10 record with just four games remaining in his second season in charge.

Kyle Shanahan said his father’s input is always encouraged, and they speak regularly. He compared the dynamic to when he was in college and would call his dad after games to share his thoughts.

“He does the same thing to me that I did to him my entire life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “No matter how busy he was, he had to make sure he set aside to spend about 20 minutes to answer or return my phone call when I was in college so I could tell him all the things he did right and he did wrong.

“He always took it. Now that I look back on it, he was probably watching film and halfway listening to me the whole time. At least I thought he was (listening). He does the same to me. But I definitely listen to him more than he did to me.”

Why ESPN considers Kyle Juszczyk’s 49ers contract NFL's biggest outlier


Why ESPN considers Kyle Juszczyk’s 49ers contract NFL's biggest outlier

The 49ers paid Kyle Juszczyk handsomely to come aboard -- perhaps too handsomely.

San Francisco inked the fullback to a four-year, $21 million contract prior to the 2017 season, which is well above market rate for the position in today's NFL.

For the last few years, ESPN's Bill Barnwell has ranked the biggest outlier contracts in the NFL, those whose value is much more than the standard at their specific position. 

And for the third year in a row, Juszczyk took home the top prize as the NFL's biggest outlier contract.

"To put his four-year, $21 million deal in context, [Aaron] Donald would need to make about $108 million over three years to be similarly ahead of the defensive tackle market. Russell Wilson's four-year, $140 million extensions would need to be a four-year, $202.9 million deal to rank similarly ahead of the quarterback class," Barnwell writes.

"Nobody has joined the 49ers in rewarding the fullback position, either. Juszczyk is one of just four veteran fullbacks in the league signed to a deal of three seasons or more. The former Raven averages $5.3 million across that deal; the other three players average $5.6 million combined. Most of the league's multiyear deals at the position are rookie contracts, including several undrafted free agents. The only other fullback in the league with an average salary over $2 million is Patrick DiMarco, who is at $2.1 million."

As Barnwell goes on to explain, Juszczyk hasn't excelled as a runner -- rushing just 15 times for 61 yards -- and has fumbled four times in 98 touches, the fourth-worst fumble rate in the NFL.

Juszczyk hasn't thrived as a receiver, either, as he's hauled in 63 passes for 639 yards in the past two seasons, which, as Barnwell points out, is on par with the like of Brandon LaFell and Antonio Gates during that time period. 

[RELATED: Amid contract drama, Gould says family will drive decision]

The contract certainly is above market value, but the 49ers did what they had to do (and then some) to get their guy.

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

49ers' Robbie Gould says family will drive his football decisions

Kicker Robbie Gould and the 49ers remain in a holding pattern, and Gould said the only motivating factor at this stage of his NFL career is his family.

Gould, 36, spent most of the 2018 season away from his wife and three young boys while serving his second season as the 49ers’ kicker. He signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017.

Gould has deep roots in Chicago, where he spent the first 11 seasons of his NFL career. On Monday, he hosted the Robbie Gould Celebrity Golf Invitational at Medinah Country Club to raise funds for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“This city’s been incredible,” Gould told NBC Sports Chicago. “No matter where I’ve gone, no matter where I’ve lived, no matter where I’ve played, Chicago has always been home.”

The Bears released Gould just prior to the start of the regular season in 2016. The move came back to haunt them, as Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts the past two seasons with the 49ers.

Gould expected to be a free agent at the end of the season, but the 49ers tagged him as their franchise player. Gould has requested a trade, but the 49ers have stated they will not trade him.

He has yet to sign the one-year, $4.971 million tender, and he remained away from the 49ers during the offseason program.

“It’s a complicated situation,” Gould said. “The way I’ve kind of approached it is, I want to spend time with my family. And I let my agent handle it, and if anything comes up that I have to make a decision or be in the know, he’ll call me and let me know. But right now there’s nothing to really know, and I’m just enjoying being home and being in Chicago.

“I’m at a point in my career where my family is what’s going to dictate the decisions that I make.”

The 49ers have stated they would like to sign Gould to an extension. The sides have until July 15 to work out a new multi-year deal. Gould’s scheduled salary does not begin paying him until Week 1 of the regular season -- in the amount of more than $290,000 per week.

The Bears have a need at kicker after releasing Cody Parkey following his potential game-winning kick in the final seconds was partially blocked in a first-round NFL playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Gould was in attendance at Soldier Field that day.

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“You want every kicking friend or every kicker in the National Football League to do well,” Gould said. ‘It’s a fraternity. You obviously want him to make it. As a kicker, you can feel for him, for sure.”

The Bears currently have two kickers under contract: Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro. Gould said he is not following the Bears’ situation. Instead, he said he is focusing spending time with his family and going through his daily workouts.