SANTA CLARA -- Seven NFL coaches and six general managers were dismissed in rapid succession Monday, and those teams could be knocking on the 49ers' door for replacements.

Under NFL provisions, assistants on playoff-bound teams are allowed to interview for head-coach openings during the bye week, which the 49ers secured Sunday by virtue of their win against the Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Coach Jim Harbaugh's three coordinators -- Vic Fangio (defense), Greg Roman (offense), Brad Seely (special teams/assistant head coach) -- could all merit serious consideration for the NFL's newly created vacancies.

Roman drew interest for many college openings in the past two years, including Stanford, Penn State, Tulane, Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt. Seely was a candidate for the Indianapolis Colts' job that went to Chuck Pagano in January.

Teams that have fired coaches thus far are the Chicago Bears (Lovie Smith), Philadelphia Eagles (Andy Reid), Cleveland Browns (Pat Shurmur), Buffalo Bills (Chan Gailey), Kansas City Chiefs (Romeo Crennel), San Diego Chargers (Norv Turner) and Arizona Cardinals (Ken Whisenhunt).

Tom Gamble, the 49ers' director of player personnel, is expected to be a top candidate for one of many general manager openings. Thus far, those exist with the New York Jets (Mike Tannenbaum), Jacksonville Jaguars (Gene Smith), Cleveland Browns (Tom Heckert), Carolina Panthers (Marty Hurney), San Diego Chargers (A.J. Smith) and Arizona Cardinals (Rod Graves).


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With so many vacancies to fill, it'll be interesting to see what teams will be patient enough in their hiring process to wait out what could be a protracted playoff run by the 49ers, who'll open the playoffs Jan. 12 at home against the No. 3-seed Green Bay Packers, No. 4 Washington Redskins or No. 5 Seattle Seahawks.

After last season's run to the NFC Championship Game, Harbaugh retained all his assistants, with the exception of Bobby Engram, who left as an offensive assistant to become receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh.