The 49ers will hire former Cleveland Browns and New York Jets coach Eric Mangini as a senior offensive consultant, a league source confirmed Saturday.
Mangini's name surfaced in relation to a 49ers consulting job last month, and coach Jim Harbaugh on Tuesday hinted a move would be made soon. Mangini is expected to start working for the 49ers on Monday.
Harbaugh refused to talk about the particulars of the job Tuesday.
"Well, rather than be premature about what we're looking for, or what we're going to do, there will be a time and a place to talk about that," Harbaugh said.
It seems odd that Mangini, 42, would offer expertise on offensive matters since he made his reputation as a defensive coach, first guiding the secondary with the Jets and New England Patriots and then as New England's defensive coordinator.
Also, the 49ers have an abundance of coaching talent on offense, including Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman who likely will be a head coach at some point and assistants like Tim Drevno, John Morton and Tom Rathman.
Mangini's role will be to break down film of opponents and offer defensive expertise and a defensive perspective to the offensive coaches.
When former Nevada coach Chris Ault was shopping his services to the NFL as a consultant, he found most of the interest came not from offensive coaches wanting to know how to run his famed "pistol" formation but from defensive coaches eager to figure out how to stop it.
Hiring Mangini, who has been an ESPN analyst the last two seasons, also presumably would give the 49ers a jump on hiring him as an assistant if someone, say secondary coach Ed Donatell or defensive-line coach Jim Tomsula, left for other jobs. Donatell has been on several teams' short lists for defensive coordinator the last two seasons, but the 49ers have blocked those overtures.
Perhaps more significantly, the position gives Mangini experience with, and exposure to, offensive coaches like Harbaugh and Roman that will make him more desirable as a head-coaching candidate. Mangini has coached offense for only one season in the NFL, when he was an offensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996.
Mangini attended one of the 49ers' practices in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2011, and he has a relationship with 49ers special-teams coordinator Brad Seely, who also is San Francisco's assistant head coach and a trusted adviser for Harbaugh. Mangini also was on the Jets' staff when 49ers general manager Trent Baalke was a scout in that organization.