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Further insights into 49ers’ initial interest in Steve Spagnuolo for DC

Mar 3, 2024 at 12:25 PM--

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This past week, Dianna Russini of The Athletic shared an intriguing detail during an appearance on "The Athletic Football Show" podcast. She disclosed that the San Francisco 49ers had shown interest in Steve Spagnuolo for their then-vacant defensive coordinator position before the Kansas City Chiefs secured him with a new deal.

"San Francisco was flirting with him, thinking about bringing him in as DC," Russini revealed.

Ultimately, the 49ers promoted defensive passing game specialist Nick Sorensen to defensive coordinator, filling the void left by Steve Wilks. Additionally, San Francisco hired former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as the team's assistant head coach, replacing Anthony Lynn.

On Sunday, ESPN's Dan Graziano provided further insight into the 49ers' search for a new defensive coordinator, stating that the team explored various "intriguing options," including Spagnuolo.

"The most intriguing would have been an all-time if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em move," Graziano wrote. "Sources say the Niners explored the possibility of hiring Steve Spagnuolo away from the Chiefs for their defensive coordinator position shortly after their Super Bowl loss to Kansas City."

Going after a play-caller widely regarded as one of the premier defensive coordinators in the game would have been a bold move for head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers, especially given their desire to overcome the Kansas City Chiefs, who have thwarted their Super Bowl hopes in their past two appearances.

The interest likely prompted the Chiefs to move quickly to retain their talented coach.

"Spagnuolo's contract with the Chiefs was set to expire this offseason, and the Niners' interest likely was one of the reasons the Chiefs moved quickly to extend him," Graziano continued. "Multiple sources said Spagnuolo's new deal will pay him somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million per year."

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