Why 49ers wouldn’t get comp picks if Steve Wilks gets head coaching job this year

There’s a chance the 49ers could be looking for a new defensive coordinator for the second time in two years. DC Steve Wilks has received interview requests from the Falcons and Chargers, and depending on how the postseason goes he could become a hot commodity on the coaching market.

San Francisco has done a good job developing coaches who go on to have success as coaches elsewhere, and thanks to the expanded Rooney Rule, when those coaches are minorities who become head coaches, the 49ers fetch compensatory draft picks. That would not be the case if Wilks is hired in this hiring cycle though.

One caveat of the expanded Rooney Rule, which incentivizes the development of minority coaches into head coaches and general managers after decades of failure from NFL teams in that regard, is that the coach must be with a team for two years for the club earn draft picks from their exit.

Here’s the rule via NBC Sports:

The employer-club shall be eligible to receive this Draft choice compensation if:
a. The minority employee hired as a Head Coach or Primary Football Executive has been employed by the employer-club for a minimum of two full seasons; and
b. The minority employee is not the Head Coach or Primary Football Executive of the employer-club and is hired into the same position with the new club. There can be no break in employment between clubs.

Barring some sort of disaster it seems more a matter of ‘when’ than ‘if’ Wilks is hired again as a head coach. His one-year stint in Arizona didn’t go well, but he helped guide a bad Panthers team to a 6-6 record as their interim coach to close the 2022 season.

He’s well-liked by players and he did a really nice job with the 49ers’ defense this season by making some adjustments that got them out of a rut that played an outsized role during the team’s three-game losing skid from Weeks 6-8.

There are a slew of big names and proven NFL head coaches on the market this offseason, but a strong playoff performance from the 49ers’ defense would deservedly put Wilks firmly in the mix as a head coach candidate.


Story originally appeared on Niners Wire