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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What if Kyle Shanahan Says No?

It's official. Kyle Shanahan is the last remaining candidate for the 49er head coaching position. All of the other candidates have either accepted other positions or have withdrawn their names from consideration, which raises the obvious question: What happens if Kyle Shanahan says no? What if he tells the Niners he'd rather remain the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator? Who will coach the Niners then?

Such a scenario is not beyond the realm of possibility. The Niner head coaching position isn't the most attractive in the NFL. As Steve Ruiz of USA Today put it a few days ago ("Kyle Shanahan should avoid the 49ers job"):
Why would Shanahan want to leave Atlanta - and guys like Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman - for a team with no quarterback and a dearth of offensive playmakers? The 49ers rosters is still years away from competency, but the incompetent owner seems to think the team should win now. And when it doesn't, don't expect York, who runs the organization, to hold himself accountable... Chip Kelly and Jim Tomsula got one year apiece despite overseeing one of the least talented rosters in the league. Give Bill Belichick or Pete Carroll that team, and you're getting roughly the same results.
One has to wonder if that is why Josh McDaniels decided to remain the New England Patriots offensive coordinator for another year. The official reason was that he didn't want to move his family, but local columnist Tim Kawakami has speculated more might have gone into his decision not to take the Niner position ("Josh McDaniels pulls out of 49ers’ search, so now Kyle Shanahan has all the leverage; do York and Marathe understand this?"):
I believe, and have believed from the outset of this long search, that the only candidates who possibly could fix the 49ers should and will have strong demands for Jed/Paraag, who have very much proven that they don’t like strong demands. We just saw the result of those competing interests, I’m very sure. 
McDaniels had the leverage to ask York and Marathe to clear out of his way, let him pick his own GM (likely ESPN’s Louis Riddick), and guarantee him a commitment level that allayed general concerns about the Yorks’ impulsive, short-sighted, leak-prone, race-to-2-wins ways. If the 49ers had the wherewithal to meet those demands, they’d be worth McDaniels uprooting his young family and taking a shot with this talent-depleted roster.
And I am guessing that, once they heard what McDaniels was telling them, York and Marathe were not pleased–because one thing we know about the Yorks is that they love to be praised and flattered, not challenged.
But now that Tom Cable has also dropped out (thank the Lord), Kyle Shanahan should have even more leverage than Josh McDaniels did. He should be able to name his price -- not so much in terms of $s (although I'm sure he'll be offered that too) but in the words of Kawakami, the power to "pick his own GM... and guarantee him a commitment level that allayed general concerns about the Yorks’ impulsive, short-sighted, leak-prone, race-to-2-wins ways." Or as ESPN's Nick Wagoner put it ("To land Kyle Shanahan, 49ers must be willing to give"):
It was already pretty much a given that York and the Niners would have to concede a lucrative, long-term contract to whoever they hire as head coach. No strong candidate would walk into this situation after the events of the past few years without plenty of built-in security. Likewise, there are some concessions the Niners might have to make in terms of personnel control, or at least in terms of making sure Shanahan has a general manager he feels comfortable with.
But what happens if Shanahan says no?

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