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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Why DeMeco Ryans could realistically remain with the 49ers in 2023

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 11, 2023 at 3:25 PM--


With the NFL coaching carousel starting to turn as teams look for their next head coach, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is one of the hotter candidates in the current cycle.

The second-year defensive coordinator has already earned two head-coaching interviews: one from the Denver Broncos and another from the Houston Texans.

However, there's a realistic chance that DeMeco Ryans could remain with the 49ers in 2023. Let's break it down.



Denver Broncos


It seems unlikely that Ryans will land in the Mile High City, as there are some significant candidates requested for the job.

Ryans is currently fourth in the odds behind Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, and former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

While Ryans moved up a spot in favor of Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell, there doesn't seem to be a path for the 38-year-old coach to unseat the top three options.

There appears to be mutual interest between Harbaugh and the Broncos after the two sides conducted a virtual interview on Monday, which led to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero's report that the Michigan head coach has emerged as a top candidate in Denver.


Additionally, the Broncos have an interest in Quinn, who was a finalist for the job last season and clearly remains a top candidate for the position one season later.

Quinn is currently the favorite, as of Tuesday. Overall, with two emerging candidates, as well as the presence of Payton, it appears unlikely that Ryans will secure the head coaching job in Denver.

Houston Texans


The Houston Texans appear to be a realistic destination for Ryans on paper, given that the defensive coordinator had an extensive career with the franchise, but the feeling doesn't seem to be mutual, as NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweeted that the former linebacker is not expected to pursue that opportunity.


While the Texans seem like a team with a solid infrastructure, with tons of cap space and draft capital, they have fired two different minority head coaches in successive seasons, making it a tough sell.

Indianapolis Colts


The Indianapolis Colts may be Ryans' most realistic destination in 2023, given the strong defense and the necessity for a leader to take over the franchise.

But, the Colts have requested numerous interviews thus far, and don't appear to be looking in Ryans' direction at the moment.

Thus far, the Colts have requested permission to interview Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, as well as their interim head coach Jeff Saturday and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone.

There appears to be a mixed focus between offensive and defensive coordinators, which is why Ryans could be in the mix later on, but it doesn't appear that the two sides have mutual interest at the moment.

Moreover, it's unclear how much control Ryans would have in the organization, given the significant involvement of owner Jim Irsay.

Arizona Cardinals


There may be an emerging candidate as the next head coach for the Arizona Cardinals, and it's not DeMeco Ryans. Instead, it is former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who rose to become the favorite on Wednesday after reports surfaced of interest between the two sides.

In fact, Ryans isn't currently in the running for the top three, as interim head coach Vance Joseph is second in odds, while Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has the third-best odds to earn the job.

At the moment, it seems as if the Cardinals may focus on a splashy hire or an internal hire, which would make sense after they fired Kliff Kingsbury, whose contract ran until 2026, meaning he is owed significant money.

Carolina Panthers


The Carolina Panthers may be the least likely choice for Ryans, given their current selection of interviews.

Apart from interim head coach Steve Wilks and former NFL head coach Jim Caldwell, the Panthers have made a clear focus on offensive coordinators, requesting interviews with Ken Dorsey (Buffalo Bills), Ben Johnson (Detroit Lions), Mike Kafka (New York Giants), Kellen Moore (Dallas Cowboys), and Shane Steichen (Philadelphia Eagles).

With those current candidates, as well as a relative lack of attractiveness as a destination, Ryans doesn't appear to have a future in Carolina at the moment.

Given the current head coaching vacancies, as well as the potential opportunities that may arise in 2024, the most realistic situation for Ryans may be to remain in San Francisco in 2023 and re-visit the cycle next offseason.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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