49ers request interviews with Patriots duo for vacant head coach, GM spots

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The San Francisco 49ers have struggled in recent years with arranged marriages with their head coaches and general managers. So a new approach, wanting to pair up a preexisting couple, might serve them well.

The team reportedly has requested interviews with two prominent members of the New England Patriots to fill those respective vacancies, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Jacksonville Jaguars also requested to speak with McDaniels, according to Schefter. Others, such as the Los Angeles Rams, could jump in as well. McDaniels and the Patriots are on bye this week, so the window for their assistants to interview or head-coaching jobs remains open through the weekend before it closes again.

Josh McDaniels, right, will be a busy man with head-coaching requests this week. (AP)
Josh McDaniels, right, will be a busy man with head-coaching requests this week. (AP)

The 49ers let go of Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke, their latest mismatched HC-GM duo, and apparently were willing to pay big to make them disappear.

It’s understandable why the 49ers would want to tap into the Patriots’ deep, flowing well of success even if that hasn’t always been sustained once their employees have left the building. Of course, that theory needs to be reexamined. True, former Bill Belichick offspring — Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini and even McDaniels — struggled as head coaches elsewhere. But Bill O’Brien winning games with the Houston Texans either without good quarterback play or without J.J. Watt on the field (or both) and the strong starts with their respective clubs of first-year GMs Bob Quinn (Detroit Lions) and Jon Robinson (Tennessee Titans), two former Patriots worker bees behind the scenes, might require rethinking things related to New England.

For the 49ers, much is needed to fix the team: a quarterback and a defense for starters, but it hardly ends there. Beyond that, the franchise needs stability, having started falling apart at the seams in Jim Harbaugh’s final year-plus as head coach and spiraling down the drain. The front office once had been made of homegrown talents; now it appears that CEO Jed York and executive vice president Paraag Marathe are willing to go outside the building to revive a once-proud franchise that’s only five years removed from a Super Bowl appearance.

As for assets, the 49ers don’t have a ton to offer outside of a handful of building blocks on the roster, a ton of salary-cap space (more than $80 million) and two of the first 33 picks in the 2017 NFL draft, including No. 2 overall. There’s also the chance to rebuild a franchise, the way Bill Parcells always wanted to (or Theo Epstein, perhaps, in a baseball parallel), which is an underrated element in some NFL people’s minds.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio might be a candidate for a few GM jobs. (AP)
Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio might be a candidate for a few GM jobs. (AP)

But when you’re going on your fourth head coach in four years — it’s as unbelievable to type as it is to read — it’s a tricky sales job that things are on the up and up.

For the Patriots, it might be time for McDaniels to move on and get his second head-coaching chance after his failure with the Denver Broncos. After all, his work with Tom Brady — in two stints with the Patriots now — has been notable, even if Brady is a rare talent who thrived with O’Brien and others calling plays. But McDaniels has done enough at this point, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett (the Patriots collectively threw two INTs all season), to rebuild his reputation that he probably also can afford to be picky, even with six current coaching vacancies, in selecting his next job. One would think he’d want to handpick his next quarterback, and it’s unclear if Colin Kaepernick or one of the draft offerings would tempt McDaniels.

Also, worth noting: Kelly and Belichick are close allies. Belichick always has tried to steer his assistants to good situations and might use Kelly’s firsthand knowledge of the job — such as working under York — and shed light about an organization that has been trending in a dark direction the past few years.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!