The San Francisco 49ers have numerous questions coming into 2016, including whether Colin Kaepernick will still be on the roster at quarterback. The Niners fired Jim Tomsula after a 5-11 season and now the team could look at head coach options like Chip Kelly or Mike Shanahan to take over.
The 49ers announced after the regular season that Tomsula will not be returning as head coach and now the team will start searching for a new candidate to take over. According to the release from the team, CEO Jed York said that Tomsula was a "valuable member" of the team for nearly a decade and that his "contributions" to the team were "greatly appreciated," but that the team will now move in a new direction for 2016.
Tomsula is out after just one season after replacing Jim Harbaugh as head coach and general manager Trent Baalke now will start interviewing to find a new leader for the 49ers. Baalke's status was up in the air coming out of the season, but according to NFL.com, York said that Baalke will remain the general manager of the team moving forward and will be leading the search for a new head coach. According to ESPN.com, Mike Shanahan and Chip Kelly are potential options to get interviewed, while Adam Schefter reports that the team could "explore" whether Sean Payton will be available from the Saints.
Payton is expected to be a top candidate for teams with job openings, as his status moving forward with the Saints is uncertain. Payton is under contract and is expected to be pursued and that could lead the Saints to try and work out a trade for the coach with draft pick compensation. League sources reported on Monday to Schefter that Kelly has "reached out" to the 49ers about being a potential option as head coach. USA Today reports that Mike Shanahan could be an option for the 49ers and also with the Miami Dolphins.
Tomsula was not expected to last long as the 49ers head coach, as the team was likely going to take a major step back this season after making a number of roster changes. Tomsula had never been a head coach in the NFL before and previously was a position coach with the team. Baalke now has a major decision to make, as the team has questions at quarterback, on defense and on the offensive line heading into 2016 and the new head coach will likely have a hand in those moves.
According to CSN Bay Area, Kaepernick and his future with the team remains uncertain, as the quarterback will make over $14 million in 2016 if he remains with the team. Kaepernick had a down season and went on injured reserve, leaving Blaine Gabbert to take over as the starter. If Kelly came in to take over, there is a chance that Kaepernick could remain with the 49ers, as his style could fit what Kelly likes to do on offense. There likely will not be a final decision made on Kaepernick and his future until the 49ers hire a new head coach.