The ever-shifting hiring standards for the 49ers may be shifting yet again.
With Packers executive and presumed 49ers G.M. favorite Brian Gutekunst opting to withdraw from consideration and stay put in Green Bay, the 49ers could be adjusting their focus. Which could result in more candidates emerging.
Initially, the 49ers wanted to hire a G.M. who would hire a head coach. With Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio bowing out, the focus then became finding a coach and a G.M. who would be joined at the hip. When that didn’t pan out, the 49ers opted to wink-nod hire Kyle Shanahan to coach the team, and then to have Shanahan involved in the search for a G.M.-in-name-only, who would essentially set the table for Shanahan.
Some league insiders predict that the job could become more along the lines of “director of player personnel,” with the candidate knowing from the get-go that his job will be to go get players for Shanahan and not to manage or to co-manage the football operations. Folks who would aspire to fill that role may already be contacting Shanahan and/or the 49ers to express interest.
Part of the problem is that, in the rush to get Shanahan to verbally commit to the job after all other coaching candidates had withdrawn, the 49ers apparently promised him control over the 53-man roster. That instantly made the G.M. less attractive and less powerful.
So, basically, the 49ers eventually may need to redefine and rename the job in order to fill it.