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With the 49ers planning to hire Kyle Shanahan to coach the team and currently having a quarterback depth chart that consists of Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder, the next question becomes whether the 49ers will make a play for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.
In 2012, Washington made Kirk Cousins a fourth-round draft pick. Then-coach Mike Shanahan has repeatedly raved about Cousins, and Kyle Shanahan ran the offense in Washington for the first two years of Cousins’ career.
Cousins, who was subject to the franchise tag in 2016, would be entitled to $23.94 million in 2017 if Washington tags him again. Washington could, in theory, apply the exclusive version of the tag (which would potentially drive that number much higher) in order to block the 49ers or anyone else from trying to pilfer Cousins.
However, the non-exclusive tag would give Washington a pair of first-round picks as compensation for Cousins, and San Francisco holds the second overall selection in round one. Washington arguably would be thrilled to flip Cousins for the No. 2 pick in 2017 plus wherever the 49ers land in the first round next year.
Washington also could tag Cousins and trade him for less than two first-round picks.
The situation quickly becomes a high-stakes game of chess, checkers, and chicken for Washington, the 49ers, and Cousins. To preserve the ability to trade Cousins, Washington will have to be prepared to commit $23.94 million in cash and cap space to him. If Cousins promptly signs the tender (like he did in 2016) and they can’t trade Cousins, Washington will be stuck, with Cousins getting $23.94 million for one year, being entitled to $34.47 million under the tag in 2018, and wanting a long-term deal based on those figures.
The situation makes it imperative for the 49ers and Washington to quickly flesh out a non-binding plan for making a deal happen when the new league year opens in March, if the 49ers want Cousins, if Cousins wants the 49ers, and if the 49ers are willing to give both Washington and Cousins what they want in order to get it done. The fact that Washington G.M. Scot McCloughan previously served in that same role with the 49ers could expedite things, if Shanahan’s plan for fixing the 49ers offense consists of bringing to the Bay Area that quarterback with whom Shanahan worked in 2012 and 2013.
Word on Tuesday evening is that the 49ers are planning a second interview with Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan with the intention of making him their next head coach.
If that doesn’t work out, it looks like they’ll be back at square one in their search. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said that he’s no longer pursuing the job and now Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable, the only other candidate they’ve interviewed that hasn’t landed a job elsewhere, has announced he’ll be staying in Seattle.
Cable’s agent Doug Hendrickson made the announcement on Twitter shortly after word about the 49ers’ plans regarding Shanahan broke and said Cable thanked the team for considering him in their search. That only serves to strengthen the reports about Shanahan being the choice for the team that once employed his father as their offensive coordinator.
Cable will have his hands full trying to get the Seahawks offensive line up to speed after a rough season that ended with the unit playing poorly against the Falcons in the divisional round. Coach Pete Carroll indicated Monday that the team does not plan to spend a lot in free agency to upgrade the unit and that they believe their young group can get better next season.
Cornerback Bene Benwikere opened the season as a starter for the Panthers and it looks like he’ll end it as a member of the Packers.
The Packers announced that they signed Benwikere to their practice squad on Tuesday. Benwikere spent some time with the Dolphins after getting released by the Panthers, but did not see action in any games for Miami.
Benwikere was a fifth-round pick in 2014 and started 10 regular season games in his first two years with the club. He also made two postseason starts as a rookie, but missed the playoffs last year with a broken leg. That made him one of the more experienced members of the cornerback group in Carolina when the season got underway, although that didn’t help him last more than four games with the team in 2016.
The Packers could conceivably use Benwikere before their season is over. This week might not be the best time for that as Benwikere’s last game with the Panthers before being released saw Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throw for 503 yards and wide receiver Julio Jones catch 12 passes for 300 yards.
The 49ers will offer Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan their head coaching job as soon as they’re allowed to, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
The Falcons host the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers earlier this month in the window such interviews with coaches from playoff teams are allowed.
Schefter’s report said the 49ers are “willing to wait” for Shanahan. Theirs is the only head coaching job that remains unfilled, and when Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels removed his name from consideration Monday the job Shanahan became the presumptive favorite
By rule, the 49ers can meet with Shanahan next week even if the Falcons win Sunday and advance to the Super Bowl. Both Albert Breer of MMQB.com and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the 49ers will have Shanahan meet with potential General Manager candidates at that time. The 49ers fired both G.M. Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly at the end of the 2016 season.
Shanahan is in his second year as offensive coordinator with the Falcons. He previously held the same role in Washington, Houston, and Cleveland.
The Seahawks won’t be playing this weekend. Two more of them will be playing the following weekend. Unless they finagle a way out of it.
It’s the sixth straight year the Seahawks have at least five Pro Bowlers; Graham and Wright join defensive end Cliff Avril, defensive end Michael Bennett, linebacker Bobby Wagner, and cornerback Richard Sherman.
“It feels really good,” Wright said Tuesday, via the team’s official website. “I got the news from Coach Carroll, he called and broke the news to me. It felt great, man. I called my family, they were all excited. This is something I was hoping would happen this year and I’m glad that it happened.”
Plenty of players hope to avoid the Pro Bowl. For Wright, who had never previously made it to the all-star game, the honor is a welcome one — even if it means risking injury in a meaningless game.
The Bills on Tuesday announced the hiring of Rob Boras as their new tight ends coach.
Boras spent the last two seasons as the Rams’ offensive coordinator. He’s been coaching in the NFL since 2004 and has previously coached with the Bears and Jaguars.
New Bills coach Sean McDermott has thus far only made official the hires of Boras and defensive line coach Mike Waufle, who also comes to Buffalo from the Rams.
The Falcons have officially placed defensive end Adrian Clayborn on their injured-reserve list.
Clayborn suffered a torn bicep in last Saturday’s divisional playoff win over the Seahawks. He had five sacks in 2016 and was a key player on the Falcons’ improved defensive front.
A first-round pick of the Buccaneers in 2011, Clayborn, 28, has eight sacks and has started 12 games in two seasons with the Falcons.
To address the roster with Clayborn out, the Falcons promoted defensive tackle Joe Vellano from the practice squad and signed defensive tackle Jimmy Staten to the practice squad. Vellano has nine games of NFL experience from a previous stint with the Patriots.
The 49ers interviewed a pair of Seahawks executives on Monday as part of their search for a new General Manager, but one of them has reportedly taken himself out of the running on Tuesday.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Trent Kirchner has removed his name from consideration for the position. Kirchner is co-director of player personnel in Seattle with Chris Fitterer, who also interviewed with the 49ers on Monday and presumably remains in the running for the job.
In addition to the two Seahawks execs, the 49ers have interviewed a pair of Packers personnel men — Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst — and they have also spoken to ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, Vikings assistant general manager George Paton and Colts executive Jimmy Raye.
The 49ers are also looking for a head coach and that search appears to be down to Kyle Shanahan and Tom Cable after Josh McDaniels announced he’s no longer considering a move to Santa Clara.
Sean McVay is the youngest head coach in the NFL after being hired by the Rams and Kirk Cousins had a hand in getting McVay to that spot.
Cousins’ play as the starter over the last two seasons has created a big question for the Redskins to answer about his future with the organization, but it didn’t hurt McVay to be associated with the development of a quarterback who went from backup to the franchise tag in 2015 before turning in another good season in 2016.
During an interview with ESPN 980 in Washington, McVay called Cousins someone you can “absolutely win a championship with” and said he thinks that Cousins will continue to move up the ladder of NFL quarterbacks in the years to come.
“I don’t think there’s any question in my mind,” McVay said. “Look at his body of work the last two years. These guys are great players and they have a long resume. They’ve accumulated that experience and gone through things good and bad. Anytime you look at someone who is successful at anything, one thing they’ve had to do is overcome some adversity. It’s an inevitable part of this game, but it’s something when you look at Kirk over the course of his career and through his life, he continually responded to challenges in a way that makes you believe in him.”
McVay added that he hopes Jared Goff can progress on the same kind of trajectory in the coming years. Goff’s presence in Los Angeles should keep anyone from connecting dots between the coach’s praise and Cousins’ impending free agency, which promises to be a major storyline in Washington while McVay is trying to have the same kind of success with another quarterback.
The social-media platform known as Twitter can be used for plenty of good things, and for plenty of not-so-good things.
Here’s one very good thing for which it recently was used: A retweet from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr of a message aimed at finding a missing boy resulted in a reply with information that helped police find him, via CSNBayArea.com.
It’s a reminder of the potency of the device. Carr, with more than 247,000 followers, clicked a button and performed a significant service for his fellow man.
Meanwhile . . . . Never mind.
The Chargers have left San Diego, but they’ll still have a presence there.
Via the San Diego Union-Tribune, the local CBS affiliate plans to carry “a lot of Chargers games” in 2017.
The station’s general manager told Tom Krasovic of the Union-Tribune that CBS corporate executives make the decision on which games will be televised in which market, and that the “local station doesn’t have any say.”
“I think the Chargers televised games will be the highest-rated games in the market,” Alberto Mier y Tieran told Krasovic. “So I would prefer we carry as many Chargers games as possible.”’
Much was made regarding the news that TV ratings were down in L.A. after the return of the Rams. But the reality of the league’s broadcast rules is that, without a team in a given market, the networks can assign more compelling games to the local affiliate that otherwise would have its hands tied. The Rams weren’t good, but FOX had its hands tied following more than 20 years of flexibility.
If the Chargers struggle, CBS will be able to give San Diego games involving better teams and higher stakes. And, in turn, better ratings.
Luke Kuechly was medically cleared to play late in the season, after missing four games with a concussion.
And since he didn’t play the last two because the Panthers were out of the playoff hunt, he’s not going to play in any other meaningless exhibitions.
There’s a reasonable case to be made that Lee should have been there anyway, especially with Kuechly missing six games.
But Lee had a phenomenal season in his own right, for a defense which overachieved throughout the year.
The Texans are out of the playoffs, and their star defensive end is out of the postseason all-star game.
For Dunlap, it’s his second straight Pro Bowl, and the second of his career. He had eight sacks in 2016.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry pulled out of the Pro Bowl this week, but the Chiefs are still gaining in the number of players from their roster who will take part in the game.
The team announced on Tuesday that quarterback Alex Smith and punter Dustin Colquitt have been added to the roster. They join tight end Travis Kelce, cornerback Marcus Peters and rookie returner Tyreek Hill as representatives from Kansas City in the game.
It is the second time that Smith has been part of a Pro Bowl roster and he will be replacing Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who fractured his fibula late in the season as the Raiders and Chiefs were vying for the AFC West title. The Chiefs took it with a win in Week 17 while the Raiders lost, but Smith’s season came to an end in an 18-16 loss to the Steelers last Sunday night.
Colquitt is also going to the Pro Bowl for the second time. He’s going in place of Colts punter Pat McAfee, who announced over the weekend that he will be having knee surgery.
The Chargers hired a head coach with an offensive background in Anthony Lynn, but that won’t lead to a change at offensive coordinator.
During his introductory press conference, Lynn said that Ken Whisenhunt will “definitely be retained” for the 2017 season. Lynn said that he would have tried to bring Whisenhunt with him if he’d gotten a head coaching job when interviewing with teams last year.
Whisenhunt worked under Mike McCoy in 2013 and then left after getting a head coaching job with the Titans. He was dismissed after going 3-20 and returned to the coordinator job in 2016.
On the defensive side, Lynn confirmed the Chargers have interviewed Gus Bradley about taking the coordinator job and said that he’d be talking to Bradley again on Tuesday. Bradley has also interviewed with the Redskins and is thought to be a possibility with the 49ers if they hire Tom Cable as their head coach.