The San Francisco 49ers have hired Chip Kelly to take over as head coach after the team fired Jim Tomsula following the 2015 season.
Kelly was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles after the team missed the playoffs this season and he was considered to be one of the favorites for the job in San Francisco. According to Pro Football Talk, the team has hired Kelly to take over after also interviewing and considering Mike Shanahan for the job. Kelly was given control over personnel in Philadelphia this year and things did not work out as planned despite high expectations coming into the season.
Kelly traded for Sam Bradford, got rid of LeSean McCoy and also signed DeMarco Murray and those moves did not result in a playoffs appearance for the Eagles. Kelly likely will have some input on personnel in San Francisco, but the main job of bringing in players will be for general manager Trent Baalke. Kelly had better results in Philadelphia when he was not the main architect bringing in players and he could return to that form now in this position with the 49ers.
The 49ers were a perennial playoff team with Jim Harbaugh before Tomsula was hired and now the team is hoping that Kelly can bring back some consistency to the franchise. The 49ers are projected to have a high amount of cap space for this offseason and that could be a big benefit for Kelly as he tries to turn the team around. The biggest question for Kelly this offseason will be about the future of Colin Kaepernick, as the quarterback is coming off of surgery and has regressed over the last two seasons.
Throughout the season there has been speculation in the media that Kaepernick could be done in San Francisco after this year, but the hiring of Kelly could change that. Kelly works well with mobile quarterbacks and his specialty is on the offensive side of the ball. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that Kelly is "excited" to work with Kaepernick and that Kelly was "trying to figure out how to trade for/sign" the quarterback once he got another job in the league.
Kaepernick showed a couple years ago that he has the skills and ability to be a productive quarterback in the NFL and he may get another chance with Kelly in San Francisco. Kaepernick has had multiple surgeries this offseason after suffering a shoulder injury during the season and NFL.com reports that Kaepernick will also have surgery on his thumb.
Kelly coming to San Francisco could be exactly what Kaepernick needs and it likely means that his departure from the Bay Area is not going to happen this offseason. The quarterback has a base salary of $13.9 million base salary for next season. Kelly and the 49ers have a top 10 pick this year in the draft and there is a chance that a player like Paxton Lynch could be a potential target.