Reports: Wilks, Fangio among candidates for 49ers DC job


Things move quickly in the NFL, and it has been no different for the 49ers as their busy offseason officially is underway. 

With their former defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans now the new head coach of the Houston Texans, San Francisco now is in the process of replacing him.

The 49ers have requested permission to speak to former Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks for for the position, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday, citing a source. 

Wilks remains under contract with the Panthers after finishing the 2022 NFL season in an interim role. After the firing of Matt Rhules following a 1-4 start, Wilks led the Panthers to an impressive 6-6 record.

But any hopes of him leading the team next season were put to rest when the club hired former Colts head coach Frank Reich last week. The 53-year-old previously was the head coach for the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. 

On top of eyeing Wilks, the 49ers also plan to interview former Washington Commanders defensive backs coach Chris Harris and former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, NFL insider Josina Anderson reported, citing a league source. 

Harris recently joined the Tennessee Titans as their passing game coordinator following a stint with the Commanders. 

Fangio, meanwhile, has been heavily pursued since the Broncos fired him after the 2021 season. He worked behind the scenes as a defensive consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles this past season. Conflicting reports circulated over the weekend, stating that Fangio had agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins to become their next defensive coordinator. 

But a new report came out Monday saying the deal was never finalized. 

Fangio was the defensive coordinator for the Stanford Cardinal under head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2010, and in 2011 he followed Harbaugh to the 49ers when Harbaugh was hired as the 49ers' head coach. He was very successful with the 49ers, and could make another run at it with a highly-talented defensive unit in Santa Clara. 

RELATED: Stephen A. claims Brady would make 49ers Super Bowl favorites

Ryans’ time in the Bay came to a bittersweet end Tuesday after six seasons with the 49ers. 

While they're sad to see him go, the 49ers aren’t wasting any time as they quickly adjust to try to find his replacement. 

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