As 49ers candidates fled, Kyle Shanahan won big


Not long ago, the interest of Kyle Shanahan in the head-coaching job in San Francisco was lukewarm at best. It has heated up considerably this week.

Shanahan’s spike in interest in the job resulted from the lack of interest that multiple others had, either in coaching the team or in taking the G.M. job.

It began with Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard. Regarded as the team’s first, second, and third choice for the job, Ballard wasn’t interested. He asked the team to deny the request for permission to interview him for the job, apparently in order to avoid the impression that he generally isn’t interested in an opportunity for advancement.

Next came Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who didn’t want the job, either. Other candidates for the G.M. job either declined an invitation to interview or withdrew after interviewing.

The decision of Ballard and Caserio to pass on the job apparently contributed to the shift in agenda from hiring a G.M. first to hiring a coach and G.M. who will work together well. As potential members of a tag team began to bow out (starting most prominently with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels), that plan changed as well. When Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable withdrew, it left Shanahan as the only candidate.

Shanahan will benefit from that situation, significantly. He’s expected to be the highest-paid first time head coach in league history, and he’s expected to have final say over the roster and the draft. Next, he’ll be directly involved in the General Manager, which makes Shanahan the clear-cut captain of the S.S. 49er.

So how did it get to this point? Despite the widespread popular belief that the 49ers are currently the most dysfunctional team in football, the thinking in league circles is that, with some tweaks, the G.M. and coaching jobs could be desirable. The impediment to attracting their preferred candidates isn’t owner Jed York; apparently, it’s Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations Paraag Marathe.

Marathe is, as a practical matter, the Russ Brandon of the 49ers. The only difference is that the 49ers make no secret of Marathe’s influence over the football operations.

From his online bio: “On the team side, Marathe reports directly to 49ers CEO Jed York and has a significant role in major strategic decisions for the club as Chief Strategy Officer. He also continues in his long-respected role as the team’s chief contract negotiator and salary cap architect, while overseeing the team’s football analytics department.”

Put simply, Marathe has influence, along with the ear of ownership. He’s been there for 16 years, and he has transcended the bubble of accountability in which coaches and General Managers reside. And that’s precisely the kind of dynamic coaches and General Managers try to avoid.

Shanahan is embracing it because, as his final package will demonstrate, he leveraged the team’s desperation to his full advantage. Moving forward, however, it’s an elephant in the room that may be serving as an oversized anchor.

79 responses to “As 49ers candidates fled, Kyle Shanahan won big

  1. Say it isn’t so! According to all the know-nothings posting on the other stories regarding SFs coaching search, he should stay as far away from SF as possible.

  2. That sounds like a terrible situation for Shanahan. Too much responsibility for a first timer. It’s going to be McDaniels in Denver all over again.

  3. As a Raiders fan, I can remember the years of ownership ruining any hope you had of winning. I hate this for anyone. It saps the fun out of rooting for a team. Sorry, 9ers fans. You deserve better than this.

  4. Define ‘won big’ here, after all it’s working for the Niners and York we are talking about here.

  5. Hey Jed, there was a time not so long ago when guys from other playoff-caliber teams would be lining up around the block for a chance to work for the 49ers. What changed, Jed?

  6. I wish the NFL could lay off or fire owners who are struggling to be competitive and also have qualifications in order to buy a team.

    Teams that played a big part in the development of the NFL like the Bills, Jets, and 49ers have been absolutely decimated by poor ownership.

  7. “which makes Shanahan the clear-cut captain of the S.S. 49er”

    Which is already taking on water before he’s even accepted the job officially.


    Everybody else has it better

  8. I’m a little disappointed. I wanted to see the team fall apart to the point where Jed York was forced to coach it for a season, before firing himself after one season.

  9. Sorry Mike, gotta disagree with you on this one; culture begins at the top and the whole mess is Jed’s making.

    Getting rid of Harbaugh
    ‘Hold me accountable’ statement
    ‘I’m the owner, you can’t fire me’
    4 different coaches in 4 years

    The only way any decent coach or GM goes there is to say to the Yorks;

    “OK, you want me – sure. 5 years, cause that’s what it’s gonna take. And if you fire me, tell me who to draft, who to play….it’ll cost you $10 mil a year severance. Sign here, please.”

  10. It’s far too early to tell if he “won big” – there’s a reason no one wants to coach the 49ers.

  11. LOL, Tom Cable withdrew from consideration

    What on earth was said during that interview to make Tom Cable withdraw?

    I guess the good news for Kyle is that this is a win/no lose situation. 1) he wins if he somehow turns this around 2) he doesn’t lose if he doesn’t turn it around as most will give him a pass for failing in this dumpster fire

  12. I think the 49ers’ number one guy has been Kyle Shanahan all along, and as the others have come to realize that, they’re being allowed to bow out gracefully. As far as Paarag is concerned, he’s not a problem at all. The 49ers can win multiple super bowls with him in the office. They just need the right personnel guy and everyone will look very smart in S.F.

  13. Working for Jed York is winning big? Don’t sell your house in D.C., Kyle and rent one in San Francisco. You will thank me later.

  14. “Chief Strategy Officer” sounds like Marathe is in the Marketing Department. And having a marketing person be essentially in charge of your business… well, it’s no wonder the Niners are in the shape they are in.

  15. .
    His only chance is that he drafts a QB with the #2 pick and the guy is a stud on day one.

  16. Desperation knows no bounds. SF desperate to hire anyone and Little Shanny, like Daddy Shanny, desperate for any kind of attention.

    This isn’t going to end well, if it even begins. Maybe IND or HOU will shock us soon….

  17. .
    It’s apparent that Shanahan’s agent did an outstanding job of delivering his client to the 49ers. Who’s his agent? Why none other than Marvin Demoff, the father of Rams COO Kevin Demoff. He also represents Jeff Fisher and media shill, Peter King.

  18. Tom cable was never seriously considered. Lmao at him withdrawing consideration for headcoach. He’s a joke, a mental headcase and a danger to teammates and coaches. He doesn’t deserve to be a coach at any level. He’s an embarrassment. Kyle on the other hand is an excellent coach and a tremendous upgrade for coach of the niners. Now all we need is for krapernick to get cut and draft a qb with our first pick then draft players to help our weak defense. Our entire defense needs a makeover.

  19. The lowest paid NFL salary this season was $3.5 million. The highest paid was $8 million.

    Coaches typically get 4 or 5 years GUARANTEED. So we are talking about a guaranteed contract of $17.5 to $40 million dollars even if fired after 1 season.

    It’s definitely not something most people can easily say no to. Worse case he gets fired and becomes one of the top offensive coordinator on the market but with multiple millions in his bank account.

  20. Moving from one kind of dysfunction to another… letting a young first time HC have full control and pick his GM.. What could go wrong?

  21. Get your popcorn. An arrogant punk owner and an arrogant punk HC. This should be good. Anyone GM candidate who would even consider getting in the middle of this is out of his mind

  22. I must be crazy. If this guy has such influence, why is this site not giving him as much crap as it gives Russ Brandon (and Brandon deserves it)…have you paid any attention at all to this team the past 3 years?
    Regardless of the transparency of his functionality, how is this guy. It responsible in part for what that team is going through?

    Same with Brandon, they get to influence the owner but because they are not on the football side of operations, there is no accountability for them.

    And what is the deal with hiring the coach before the GM? Now the FM is nothing more than a puppet to be the face of the franchise taking the hits but actually being at fault.

  23. Congrats – essentially he’s the guy left after everyone else said no. So he “wins” by basically being last man standing.

  24. If Caserio says yes..then Josh McDaniels says yes. McDaniels
    might have said yes if Riddick is GM. When you have 80 million in dead money for COACHES and GM it is not appealing to potential
    candidates. Perhaps a move like Jacksonville and Coughlin would help.

  25. Kyle quit as Cleveland’s OC after just one season. I’d be surprised if he makes it that long in SF with the QB situation he’s going to inherit there. Good luck Kyle, you’re going to need it!

  26. There’s only 32 of these jobs in the NFL and there are no guarantees you’ll get another opportunity if you pass one up. Kyle Shanahan is playing this perfectly. As someone said earlier, he in a no lose situation. Worst thing that happens is he’s fired in a couple of years and he goes back to being an OC after padding his bank account.

  27. A lot of teams have similar make-up. Most have team presidents or EVP of football operations that participate in contract negotiation and other things. Tom Coughlin just took that same job with Jacksonsville and is actually hiring coaches for Doug Marrone. It happens quite a bit. Howie Roseman in Philadelphia is essentially a lawyer who reports to the owner while masquerading as team president and GM.

  28. To Jed York: give this kid a lot of room for mistakes, he is young. But damn if I’m not excited he’s on board. His daddy
    will help him too. 49er’s are back or will be soon. I’m happy.

  29. Jerry Jones, Dab Snyder, Jim Iesay, Stan Kronke, etc. – owners who believe THEY are the key to their team’s success. We,come to the club Jed.

    The Krafts and the Rooneys and the Seahawks owner thank you fir the future Super Bowls they will win while your franchises spin their wheels.

  30. Tom Cable withdrew because he and the two Seahawk GM candidates got wind that they were using Cable as leverage against Shanahan. McVay was given thebphone numbers, PUBLICLY, mind you, both to scare the Rams into hiring him (and not Shanahan), and also as leverage against Shanahan.

    Shanahaj is NOT the “last” choice. He was from day 1 no further down the line than second, and everything the 49ers have done this off season has been to get either him or McDaniels.

  31. What do we have here? A couple of haters? a couple of haters?

    I’ll be here reading all the comments of how you guys knew shanahan was the right fit and was smart to take the job.

    *going to sit here and eat my popcorn*

  32. Just like Kelly, Shanahan is smart to sign up, and after an expected disastrous year, take the buyout and retire to Maui.

  33. dtroxallday says:
    Jan 18, 2017 1:52 PM
    Say it isn’t so! According to all the know-nothings posting on the other stories regarding SFs coaching search, he should stay as far away from SF as possible.

    Now there’s a hot take! Not…

    You do realize this is an awful job, right?

  34. All jokes aside, good move for Kyle. I will bet money he can jump start Kapp’s career. Caveat, don’t let daddy interere. He was a good coach for Denver, terrible GM. He also is a control freak that has deep roots with the 49ers. Be careful Kyle and good luck!

  35. Want to know why the York Niners have been a pathetic joke for the better part of the last 15 years? They have idiots like Parage Marathe, a guy with ZERO sports let alone football background actually making football decisions and getting say over the roster. With York, Paraag and Al Guido you have three guys with no football experience trying to run a football team. Sorry, but this is a formula set up to fail no matter who the coach is. The Niners will be terrible for many years to come

  36. isleptwithoj: So now a third coach is the one who’s going to revive Krapperstink’s sinking career? hell maybe by the time he’s 40 we’ll know if he can play or not. Its long since been time to get rid of that vile locker room cancer. There’s a reason no other teams want him

  37. Eddie DeBartolo, please come back! Take YOUR team back from your snot nosed little rich kid punk of a nephew.

  38. Sounds like to me that York will be quiet (for about a couple years, max) before his ego kicks in again and fires Kyle , assuming Kyle does a good job. But Kyle should have a nice rich bank account by then.

    As for being overwhelmed, all he needs to do is call dad. That would be the one person he knows he can trust and who would have his back the whole time .

  39. The 49ers are going to turn it around. This is a great move getting Shanahan. His dad has a ton of experience with several very successful organizations (49ers, Raiders, Broncos) and knows how important it is to have the right people in the front office. I can guarantee you that the candidates who have “fled”, are not the guys Mike Shanahan wanted. Mike knows that Kyle can be very picky with where he wants to coach, and he wouldn’t be directing him to S.F. if he didn’t think it was going to work. Everyone wants to beat up on Paarag Marathe, but he doesn’t have anything to do with winning and losing. He’s a cap guy, and he’s actually very good.

  40. With a silver-spoon idiot entrenched as ownership for maybe the next 4 decades, ninera fans may as well kill themselves quickly instead of holding their breath.

    Your awful team is going to be awful for a very, very long time. Most of us on here will be long dead before SF wins a single playoff game again

  41. So by reading this I’m lead to believe Kyle Shanahan (hottest, or 2nd hottest HC candidate this year & next year) and Eliot Wolf (one of the hottest, most coveted young GM candidate in the league) is all the poor, dysfunctional 49ers have left to work with? OK!

    Jed did a bang-up job. I know you haters would have loved Chip Kelly & Tom Gamble, sorry but we’re in it to win it. Nice work Jed & Paraag.

  42. Shanahan will bring his Dad in as a “Consultant” to help run the team. Mike will probably do most of the personnel work so Kyle can focus on HC duties. That being said, we all know that unless they find a Franchise QB, they ain’t winning more than 5 games a season.

  43. Not necesaarily. Josh Mac was the number one candidate, but when jED saw Kyle Shanahan’s offense dismantle his hated Seahawks…tbings changed.

    Thus you saw candidates withdraw and kyle emerge.

  44. Marathe may not have any experience in sports, but let;’s remember, little Shanny never played except in Daddy Shanny’s living room.

  45. So, let me get this right, highly/highest paid coach (first year), and ungodly amount of influence over the roster, to z guy who has never won an NFL game as a HC.


  46. Step one, get rid of Krapernick who has the mindset of a loser and was a cancer to the whole team & coaches.

  47. tigersfandan says:
    Jan 18, 2017 4:57 PM

    You do realize this is an awful job, right?


    Baalke’s gone. Hopefully that’ll help. I get that he (Shanahan) still has to deal with York. But at least we’ve gotten past the GM rung of the ladder. Maybe he’s had some sort of epiphany by now. (I could barely type that with a straight face)

    They’ve got nowhere to go but up. And if he does happen to even make them respectable again, he’d definitely score some brownie points. Make ’em good/great again, he’d practically be worshiped by SF fans, rightfully so.

    Then there’s the money and roster/draft control. Who knows, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  48. Talking about setting up a guy or failure; Kyle Shanahan doesn’t have a chance to succeed here.
    This York kid is simply making a bad situation worse. Can you imagine a worse situation than a non football guy choosing another non football guy to run the entire football operation? What an embarrassment!

  49. “I think the 49ers’ number one guy has been Kyle Shanahan all along, and as the others have come to realize that, they’re being allowed to bow out gracefully. As far as Paarag is concerned, he’s not a problem at all. The 49ers can win multiple super bowls with him in the office. They just need the right personnel guy and everyone will look very smart in S.F.”
    Oh look, Jed Dork got a PFT account. Cute.

  50. My understanding is that Shanahan was one of the very top-choices from the beginning. And that came from the rather worthless and York-hating SF beat writers.

    As for Marthe, I know most of you missed it, but he was removed from the Team President role about a year-and-a-half ago. He mostly manages an investment partnership (he’s the Managing General Partner) for the Yorks while dealing with cap and contracts.

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