49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh long has been viewed as a top candidate to fill one of several head-coach openings around the NFL this offseason, and now that San Francisco's 2020 season is over, the courting process officially can begin.
Apparently it won't take long for that to happen.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan revealed after his team's Week 17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday that Saleh is expected to interview with multiple teams next week, beginning with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday.
The Falcons are one of three teams currently with head-coach openings, and several more are expected to become available on Black Monday. The Detroit Lions long have been rumored to be interested in Saleh, and Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Sunday night that they, too, are expected to interview him next week.
Shanahan and the 49ers would love nothing more than to keep Saleh, but they fully expect to lose him after the way San Francisco's defense performed under his tutelage over the last four seasons. Should he leave to become another team's head coach, the 49ers would receive compensatory third-round picks in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts. Of course, they'd also be in search of a new defensive coordinator.