Packers exec. Brian Gutekunst could join Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco

The San Francisco 49ers may well have future employees on both sides of the field in Sunday’s NFC Championship game. Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is a virtual lock to be San Francisco’s new head coach. According to a report, Brian Gutekunst, the Packers’ director of player personnel, is a “strong candidate” to be the new 49ers general manager.

“Sources said Eliot Wolf, the team’s director of football operations, pulled out of the running for the vacant general manager’s position in San Francisco when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be hired,” Bob McGinn of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. “Meanwhile, Brian Gutekunst, the Packers’ director of player personnel, is regarded as a strong candidate if not the frontrunner to replace Trent Baalke entering a second interview next week.”

The good news for the 49ers is that one of the two can be officially hired after Sunday’s game.

Regardless of who’s officially hired first, if San Francisco does hire Gutekunst, it will certainly be with Shanahan’s blessing. A previous report (which you can read here) said that the team’s new coach would “essentially pick” the general manager. Shanahan can’t officially sign with the 49ers until the Falcons’ season ends. But even if Atlanta wins the NFC Championship game, Shanahan can spend part of the Super Bowl bye week assembling a staff, which would include the new general manager.