The 49ers are expected to fill their vacant general manager position early this week, a source with knowledge of the search told CSNBayArea.com on Sunday.
Team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe, along with presumptive head coach Kyle Shanahan, met with Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough in Atlanta.
The search also includes a third candidate with whom Shanahan is believed to be comfortable working, according to another source. ESPN analyst Mark Dominik has widely been speculated as an individual who could emerge in consideration for the 49ers’ general manager position. The 49ers have discussed Dominik, a source said last week, but there has been no formal interview.
Dominik and Shanahan overlapped for two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 and ’05, when Shanahan was the team’s offensive quality control coach. Dominik worked as director of pro scouting for the Buccaneers from 1997 to 2008. From 2009 until he was fired at the conclusion of the 2013 season, Dominik served as Tampa Bay's general manager. The Buccaneers were 28-52 in Dominik’s five seasons as GM.
Paton took part in an informal dinner Friday evening with Shanahan and the 49ers representatives. Paton and Shanahan interviewed at length on Saturday. Based on the extended period of time he spent with Shanahan, Paton appears to be a favorite. Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn worked with Paton with the Miami Dolphins and is believed to have recommended Paton to Shanahan.
Paton is also one of six individuals who interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts to replace general manager Ryan Grigson. The Colts' search ended on Sunday when the club announced the hiring of Kansas City director of player personnel Chris Ballard for the job.
McDonough interviewed with the 49ers and Shanahan after Paton’s meeting ended on Saturday.
The source said the 49ers could have a new general manager in place by the middle of the week.
York announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke shortly after the 49ers’ final game on Jan. 1. The 49ers tied the organization’s lowest win total with a 2-14 record, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.
The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, until the Falcons finish the season on Feb. 5 against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
Shanahan spoke with Paton and McDonough in the face-to-face meetings about how much control in personnel the positions would wield – both contractually and functionally, according to a source.
The source said Shanahan has never insisted on control over the team’s roster but wants a voice in all personnel decisions. The 49ers are expected to enter the offseason with approximately $80 million in salary cap room. The 49ers also have a scheduled 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 selections in each round. The 49ers are also expected to pick up a compensatory selection.