AP photo

AP photo



The San Francisco 49ers are locked in on Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to be their next head coach. They'll have to wait until after Super Bowl LI to make things official. Until then, the team is looking for a general manager who can successfully work with Shanahan in San Francisco. Shanahan will make himself available on Saturday to assist with that search, meeting with the 49ers, Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton, and Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.

A number of general manager candidates have bowed out of the 49ers' search. The names include Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner and two Green Bay Packers executives, director of football operations Eliot Wolf and director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst. Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard didn't even bother entertaining the idea of meeting with the 49ers and quickly declined the request.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee joined KNBR on Wednesday to discuss the names that have pulled out of the race and the reasons that each might have done so.

"Trent Kirchner pulled out because he was affiliated with [Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach and offensive line coach] Tom Cable and he got the sense, and rightly so, that the 49ers were zeroing in on Kyle Shanahan," Barrows explained. "That's why he pulled out. Eliot Wolf likely pulled out – and this is what was reported in Milwaukee – because he sensed that he was behind even Brian Gutekunst in the search and he probably wasn't going to get the job. It was more of a face-saving move by him.

"The one that's a concern is Chris Ballard because he declined to interview with the 49ers and it seemed at the time that he was very content being with the Chiefs and was very content living in the Kansas City area, had a family, etc, etc. Now lo and behold is accepting an interview with the Indianapolis Colts and, according to some reports, is going to be the Colts' top candidate. So the long and short of it is that he saw the Colts job as a better opportunity than the San Francisco 49ers. Why that is? We're going to have to ask Chris Ballard."

Barrows went on to point out that, while the Colts have publicly committed to head coach Chuck Pagano for another year, that does not necessarily mean that a new general manager could not hire his own guy to replace Pagano next year.

There is also the issue of power in San Francisco. "The 49ers' situation, obviously, hasn't been ironed out yet, but every sense is that Kyle Shanahan is going to have at least as much – if not the – power, the trigger as it were, in San Francisco."

While Shanahan is a brilliant offensive mind, there have been scattered reports that he has not been the easiest person to get along with in the past. Of course, there have also been reports that Shanahan has learned from that and has actually improved in recent years.

"The cons is that he hasn't been the easiest guy to get along with," Barrows said. "He did not make a lot of friends in Washington for example and that may be getting around. GMs may be wary of not only coming in and working under a Kyle Shanahan, but the type of relationship that they'd have where the personality is like Kyle Shanahan has."

You can listen to the entire interview on KNBR.