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It's been nearly a week since 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan made the decision to fire his defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks. The move was made just three days after San Francisco's 25-22 loss to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVIII. 

At the time of the firing, Shanahan was asked if he would look inside or outside the building to replace Wilks. 

"We'll do both," he said Feb. 14. "We've got some good coaches in here. I'm definitely going to look outside also. So there's a number of things I got to do for the interview process. But this wasn't an easy decision, so it's something that I had to really put a lot of time into."

With Shanahan willing to look outside the building, one name he may consider is Bill Belichick. The 49ers head coach definitely thinks highly of Belichick, and we know that because Shanahan sounded ready to hire him back in January 2019. 

As pointed out by Niners Nation, when Shanahan spoke at his end-of-year press conference following the 2018 season, he said he likely wouldn't be making any coaching changes ... unless someone like Belichick became available. 

"No, I don't see myself making any specific changes," Shanahan said of his coaching staff, before adding an interesting caveat. "I mean, if Bill Belichick became available two weeks from now and said he wants to come here, and I was told I had to let someone go to bring him in, that would probably be a smart decision to do that. I'm not going to ever say that everyone is just totally safe forever."

Does this mean Shanahan is definitely going to hire Belichick? Of course not, but it does show that the 49ers head coach definitely holds the six-time Super Bowl winner in high regard. 

Of course, as Shanahan noted at the time, the 49ers could only hire Belichick if he actually wanted to coach in San Francisco, and right now, it doesn't seem like anyone knows what Belichick wants to do. One thing he won't be doing this year is working as a head coach. With every job currently filled, that means if Belichick wants to coach in 2024, then he's going to have to do it as an assistant. 

If Belichick is willing to sign on as an assistant, the 49ers job is definitely an attractive one, and that's mostly because it's with a Super Bowl contending team that has a lot of talent on defense. Belichick likely wouldn't stick around for more than a year, but no one in San Francisco would care if he helped the team win a Super Bowl in 2024. 

The former Patriots head coach has been at least an assistant in the NFL since 1975, so it wouldn't be completely crazy if he decided he wanted to coach this year.

If the 49ers were to hire Belichick, that would likely mean the defense would be undergoing some schematic changes. Although Shanahan sounds like he wants to stick with the 4-3 defense that the 49ers have been running since he arrived in San Francisco, he did say he may be open to something different. 

"I'm committed to trying, with the situation we're in, trying to find what we believe will give the Niners the best chance in 2024," Shanahan said Feb. 14. "And when you have a group of guys who have played at a high level doing certain things a specific way for a while, I do feel that's the best thing to do for them. But if I find something that I should believe in and I could be sold on that could be a better avenue, I would never hesitate to do that. So I'm not close-minded in any way. I'll look into every possibility."

If Shanahan is truly going to look at "every possibility," then it wouldn't be surprising at all if he at least gives Belichick a call. Remember, less than a year ago, Shanahan called Tom Brady about possibly playing quarterback for the 49ers, so we know he's not afraid to take big swings. 

The good news for the 49ers is that even if they don't end up with Belichick, there are a lot of former NFL head coaches out there who may want the job, with those names ranging from Brandon Staley to Mike Vrabel to Pete Carroll to Ron Rivera.