The 49ers’ hunt for a new coach and general manager narrowed considerably Tuesday when Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Tom Cable and executive Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration.
That was directly related to an ESPN report that the 49ers plan to offer the head-coaching job to Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan whenever Atlanta’s season ends. The Falcons will host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game Sunday. If the Falcons win, their season wouldn’t be complete until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
The 49ers interviewed Cable, Seattle’s offensive-line coach, on Sunday. They spoke with Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, the Seahawks’ co-directors of player personnel, on Monday. Both executives were linked to Cable, who through his agent thanked the 49ers for their consideration but said he would remain with the Seahawks.
After New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels pulled his name from consideration Monday, Shanahan became the front-runner in the head-coaching search. There was a sense from Cable that the Seahawks contingent only was being used as leverage to help rein in Shanahan’s demands and that the job would be offered to Shanahan.
Cable’s withdrawal creates a potential issue for the 49ers. If Shanahan declines the team’s offer, who would they hire? Every other candidate who has been interviewed has bowed out of the hunt or found a head-coaching job elsewhere.
The 49ers are seeking chemistry between their next general manager and head coach, which is what drew them to Seattle. It’s not known whom they see as a potential match with Shanahan, although their list of general manager candidates likely will be pared this week.
Other general manager candidates the 49ers have interviewed include the Carolina Panthers’ Brandon Beane, the Arizona Cardinals’ Terry McDonough, the Green Bay Packers’ Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, the Minnesota Vikings’ George Paton, the Indianapolis Colts’ Jimmy Raye III and ESPN’s Louis Riddick.
Shanahan, 37, has not worked with any of those GM candidates. The 49ers will have a second interview with Shanahan, likely in Atlanta, after Sunday’s game, at which point he could help the team select a general manager. Gutekunst, McDonough, Paton and Wolf are believed to have had particularly strong initial interviews and likely are being considered as the team reduces its list.