San Francisco 49ers

49ers can outmaneuver Broncos in race for Gase

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with offensive coordinator Adam Gase between plays during the third quarter against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with offensive coordinator Adam Gase between plays during the third quarter against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. AP

Trent Baalke is in Denver today to talk with Broncos coordinator Adam Gase. After that session, Gase is expected to meet with Broncos general manager John Elway about that team's coaching vacancy, the NFL Network reported.

The 49ers could offer Gase the job as early as today considering they have satisfied the league's Rooney Rule that requires them to interview at least one minority candidate for the position. The Broncos, who parted ways with head coach John Fox on Monday, are not believed to be in compliance with the Rooney Rule at this point.

If the Broncos truly want to retain Gase, their advantage, of course, is that Gase already is familiar with the personnel and has been in Denver since 2009.

Baalke, the 49ers’ general manager, already has been in Denver to talk to Gase. He, CEO Jed York and team president Paraag Marathe were there on Jan. 2 to meet with Gase, who at 36 is the youngest known candidate on their list. Because the Broncos were in the playoffs at the time, that session was limited to four hours. Other interviews the team has conducted – including with in-house candidate Vic Fangio – have been six or more hours.

Gase has been Denver's play caller for the past two seasons, and according to Fox Sports, he has told at least one of the teams interested in him that he planned to call plays if he is head coach. The Bears and Falcons also have interviewed Gase.

Sources, meanwhile, said Fangio is taking a wait-and-see approach to the 49ers’ situation.

He is under contract for the 2015 season and is scheduled to become the league's highest-paid defensive coordinator. He certainly would try to get out of that contract if he is passed over by another internal candidate, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, and he also could do so if the team hires a defensive specialist.

How he’d react if the 49ers hired an offensive-minded coach is unknown.

Washington requested an interview with Fangio for its vacant defensive coordinator position, but the 49ers turned down the request.

The Arizona Cardinals could be looking for a defensive coordinator should Todd Bowles – who is in demand by the Jets and Falcons – leave the team. Fangio and the head coach there, Bruce Arians, coached together with the Colts, and Arians recently said Fangio deserves a head-coaching job.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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