This comes as no surprise to 49ers fans, but defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is "among the top names" the Detroit Lions are considering for their head-coaching vacancy, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Sunday morning, citing league sources.
Saleh, a Dearborn, Mich., native who played his college football and began his coaching career in the state, has been mentioned as a top candidate for a number of head-coaching positions of late. Lawmakers in Michigan even penned a letter to Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp voicing their support for Saleh to succeed Matt Patricia as the organization's next head coach.
Patricia went 13-29-1 in Detroit before being let go after originally coming over from the New England Patriots, where he also was a defensive coordinator.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has been preparing for the possibility of losing Saleh to another team for several years, especially after the San Francisco defense became one of the league's most dominant units in 2019, fueling a run to Super Bowl LIV and a narrow loss against the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs offense.
Even decimated by injuries across the depth chart in 2020, the 49ers' defense has remained a rock-solid unit and kept a struggling offense in games throughout the season.
Saleh might not be the only NFC West personnel drawing the Lions' eye, as longtime Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider will be pursued by Detroit for the team's general manager vacancy, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning citing league sources.
A trio of former 49ers players and NBC Sports Bay Area 49ers analysts all have pointed to current 49ers linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans as an ideal in-house candidate to replace Saleh should be take a head coaching position this offseason.