49ers

Patriots' Day could be pivotal in 49ers' coach-GM search

Patriots' Day could be pivotal in 49ers' coach-GM search

The 49ers’ search to piece together their next coach-general manager combination is in Day 3.

Team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton in the morning. York and Marathe are scheduled to travel to Atlanta in the afternoon to meet up with Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

The key day of the search will take place on Saturday, when the 49ers are scheduled to be the last of three teams to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Widely considered the hottest of the NFL coaching candidates, McDaniels is scheduled to have three-hour interviews with Jacksonville, Los Angeles and the 49ers. He will have one-hour breaks between those interviews, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

The Patriots’ playoff schedule dictates that the interviews will last an hour less than typical. Because New England opens its Super Bowl quest on Saturday, Jan. 14, coach Bill Belichick requested his coaches conclude all their interviews in time to get back to work full time on Sunday to begin preparations on a normal seven-day work week.

The 49ers have received permission to interview Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, a source said. But it’s still unclear whether Caserio will take part in an interview for the 49ers’ general manager position or whether he is content to remain as the Patriots’ top personnel executive.

One league source described any talks that take place with the top candidates: “You’re not interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you,” he said.

If Caserio remains with New England, it does not appear to be a deal-breaker for McDaniels, who could be comfortable working with ESPN analyst Louis Riddick or Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf. The 49ers interviewed Wolf and Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst on Thursday.

McDaniels declined to interview for the 49ers’ vacancy in 2011, shortly after he was fired as coach of the Denver Broncos. He agreed to interview with the 49ers two years ago but ended up remaining with the Patriots while then-general manager Trent Baalke chose Jim Tomsula over Adam Gase.

So what makes the 49ers’ situation more attractive this time?

The 49ers have completely torn down the football structure at the time. Baalke was fired, along with coach Chip Kelly. So a top-coaching candidate, such as McDaniels, will get an opportunity to start building with a GM with whom he is comfortable.

Moreover, the 49ers will have an expected $80 million in salary cap room – nearly twice as much as the No. 2 team among those with coaching openings – and 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 overall selection.

NFL rules allow teams to conduct only one interview with an assistant coach before the two-week break before the Super Bowl. If an assistant coach has already interviewed with a team, he may have a second interview no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl. The league’s anti-tampering policy states that no contact agreement can be agreed upon until after the conclusion of the coach’s season.

49ers interviews
Wednesday
Buffalo interim head coach Anthony Lynn (coach)

Thursday
Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf (GM)
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst (GM)

Friday
Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton (GM)
Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (coach)

Saturday
New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (coach)
*New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio (GM)

Sunday
Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III (GM)

Monday
Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay (coach)
Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott (coach)

Tuesday
Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane (GM)
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick (GM)

Next in line
Miami defensive coordinator Vance Joseph (coach)
Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable (coach)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer (GM)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner (GM)

*-The 49ers have received permission from New England to interview Caserio, but it’s uncertain if Caserio will take part in the interview.

Report: Former No. 3 overall pick works out for 49ers

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Report: Former No. 3 overall pick works out for 49ers

The 49ers appear to have plenty of depth along their front seven, but the team brought in three defensive linemen for workouts on Tuesday, according to a source.

One of those players is reportedly Tyson Jackson, the No. 3 overall pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. The identities of the other two players were not immediately known.

Jackson has been without a team since the Falcons released him in March with two years and $8.5 million remaining on his contract. His workout with the 49ers was reported by the NFL Network. He also worked out recently with the Los Angeles Rams.

Jackson, 31, spent his first five season in Kansas City before playing three years with the Falcons. He appeared in all 16 games last season, starting seven times, and recorded 13 tackles and no sacks.

The 49ers have an abundance of defensive linemen, or players capable of rushing the passer from a position along the defensive line, such as DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Earl Mitchell, Elvis Dumervil, Aaron Lynch, Chris Jones, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Ronald Blair and D.J. Jones.

Veterans most vulnerable to losing roster spots with 49ers

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Veterans most vulnerable to losing roster spots with 49ers

At the midway point of the 49ers’ exhibition season, there continues to be a lot of competition and more than a handful of veterans who have yet to lock down roster spots.

“I can tell you, it’s going to be real tough to cut it down to 53,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said last week. “We’re going to need all this game and practices to evaluate that.”

Here are the 49ers’ returning veteran players whose roster spots appear to be the most vulnerable with two weeks of practices and two exhibition games remaining to prove themselves:

OLB Ahmad Brooks
Brooks’ $4.45 million base salary is not much of a concern, considering the team is still $65.2 million under the salary cap. The number that factors into this decision the most is 33. That’s Brooks’ age.

If he is not clearly better than 23-year-old Eli Harold at the SAM linebacker position, the 49ers might want to keep the younger player to develop. Brooks is not talked about for his locker-room presence, so this decision will be made solely for what he does on the field and what he is expected to give the team in the future.

“You want to know who’s got the most upside and things like that,” Shanahan said. “Who’s going to be better throughout the year, if given the opportunity. But you also want to know who when it’s all said and done who’s going to affect your win-loss record the most. Those are the things that I look at personally. You don’t always want to think who’s the best guy for Week 1. Who’s the best guy for the 2017 49ers?”

OG Zane Beadles
Beadles is currently working with the first-team offense, but his spot on the roster remains vulnerable. The 49ers’ decision-makers do not seem impressed with their offensive guards. The 49ers could look to pick up a guard from another team before the start of the season.

The jury is still out on Joshua Garnett, who had a good start to camp. But his play dropped off in Week 2 – perhaps because of the knee injury that required a procedure to clean up cartilage. Garnett may not be available for the start of the regular season.

Also, the 49ers may want to hold onto undrafted rookie lineman Erik Magnuson, who has a bigger upside than Beadles with youth, size and ability to play guard and center.

NT Quinton Dial
Earl Mitchell appears locked-in as the 49ers’ starting nose tackle. The 49ers also seem to have high hopes for rookie D.J. Jones. It’s unclear where that leaves Dial, who does not appear to be a great fit for the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme.

Dial should be a starter in the NFL. But he is better-suited to be positioned in a 3-4 scheme, using his strength and power as a two-gap player rather than adapt to a one-gap scheme in which quickness and agility are the main requirements.

DE Aaron Lynch
Before sustaining an ankle injury, Lynch had done everything the 49ers wanted of him – including reporting to camp at the weight that was ordered. Lynch also looked very good in the 49ers’ exhibition opener, recording two sacks against Kansas City.

But Lynch’s spot is not guaranteed, by any means. Arik Armstead, Elvis Dumervil, Ronald Blair and rookie Pita Taumoepenu all can play similar roles. If Lynch does not eat well or maintain his conditioning while rehabbing from his ankle injury, he could erase all of the positive steps he took at the beginning of camp.

TE Vance McDonald
The onus was on McDonald at the beginning of camp to win his way onto the team. His solid play has increased his odds of a roster spot, but it is not a sure thing. This is a position where all the incumbents – McDonald, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell -- face stiff challenges.

George Kittle will definitely be on the team. Blocking specialist Logan Paulsen and rookie Cole Hikutini are also in the mix. Hikutini does not appear ready to be a contributor this season. If they waive him with hopes of placing him on the practice squad, it seems unlikely another team would claim him for their 53-man roster. But is that a chance the 49ers are willing to take?

DE Tank Carradine
Carradine appears to be on solid footing at the 49ers’ big-end position, considering he remains on the first-team defense despite the addition of Solomon Thomas, the No. 3 overall selection. But it seems to be only a matter of time before Thomas takes on a greater role. Carradine could still be kept around as a backup.

Ronald Blair, a fifth-round draft pick in 2016, was buried on the depth chart at the beginning of camp. And a pulled groin muscle that has kept him out of action for more than a week does not help is cause, either.