The 49ers are prepared to offer their head coaching job to Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan whenever the Falcons are eliminated from the playoffs, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The first domino to fall, when New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels announced his intention to return to the team, also provided some insight into the direction of the head coaching search.
Only one team of the six National Football League franchises with vacancies has not yet made a head coaching hire, and that is because they reportedly are waiting on one in particular.
One key, as Silver noted, is Shanahan will have a strong say in who becomes the team's next general manager.
The 49ers zeroed in on Shanahan, 37, this week and are expected to have a second interview with him following Atlanta's game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
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On Tuesday, the agent for the other remaining candidate for the job, Seattle Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable, said his client was withdrawing his name from consideration. Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst reportedly is the leading candidate.
That essentially short-circuited the candidacy of Cable, who after learning early Tuesday of the Niners' intention to hire Shanahan - and the coach's apparent willingness to accept the position - prepared to pull his name from contention.
"I own this football team", York said on January 2. "It's about getting that opportunity and finding the right fit, and it's definitely not something I have to do".
It's by no means a guarantee Shanahan would leave a great situation on Atlanta for a franchise with a terrible reputation since it's fallout with Jim Harbaugh. They will try to have their general manager candidates there to find the best fit. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan put together an MVP-caliber season in 2016 and the combination of Shanahan and Ryan has the Falcons one win away from the Super Bowl.