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49ers have their likely Saleh replacement, as he prepares to poach offensive coordinator [reports]

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

There’s no real time to take a breath nowadays. It’s all whiplash. Robert Saleh is heading to the New York Jets as their head coach, as a long-inept organization has chosen competency for the first time in too long. He’s not going alone.

As expected, Saleh is likely to take the 49ers’ passing game coordinator, Mike Lafleur with him. Lafleur served as the 49ers’ passing game coordinator, with Mike McDaniel as the run game coordinator. Both, effectively, served as co-offensive coordinators without play-calling duties under Kyle Shanahan.

That arrangement worked with both Mikes in their respective posts, but leaving McDaniel, who is reportedly in consideration for the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator position, as run game coordinator, doesn’t really work.

The 49ers probably have to give McDaniel a pay bump and promotion to offensive coordinator, at least nominally. Shanahan, obviously, will keep playcalling duties, but by proxy of Lafleur leaving, it would also include more duties for McDaniel, who is deeply loyal and indebted to Shanahan. During the Super Bowl last year, KNBR spoke with McDaniel, Lafleur and the vast majority of the 49ers’ assistants, which you can read here.

One other potential candidate Saleh could take with him is Aaron Whitecotton, the 49ers’ assistant defensive line coach, who worked with Saleh as an assistant in Jacksonville.

What will the 49ers do without Saleh? They already seem to have their answer. DeMeco Ryans, the inside linebackers coach and two-time Pro Bowler, is expected to take over as defensive coordinator. He is well-respected among his linebacker group; the same group which defined the 49ers’ defensive success last season.

In return for Saleh taking a head coaching post, the 49ers will receive two compensatory third-round picks in 2021 and 2022 under the NFL’s new rules for diversity hiring. If the team’s vice president of player personnel, Martin Mayhew, who interviewed with the Washington Football Team for its general manager post, were to leave for a general manager job, San Francisco would also receive compensatory third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.


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