Skip to main content

Report: KC Chiefs Defensive Backs Coach Dave Merritt Interviewing for 49ers DC Job

The Chiefs' star defensive backs coach is drawing interest from the same squad Kansas City defeated in Super Bowl LVIII.

The Kansas City Chiefs have done a masterful job keeping their coaching staff intact thus far in the 2024 offseason. Head coach Andy Reid is reportedly on his way to getting a new deal, and multiple key leaders around him have been locked up with contract extensions. One member of Steve Spagnuolo's defensive staff, however, is at least keeping an eye out for what else is available.

Per a Wednesday afternoon report from Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, defensive backs coach Dave Merritt is interviewing for the San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator job. 

"The #49ers are interviewing #Chiefs defensive backs coach David Merritt for their defensive coordinator position, sources say," Garafolo wrote. "Merritt, a longtime trusted assistant for Steve Spagnuolo, helped coach up KC’s fourth-ranked pass defense this season."

Merritt, 52, just wrapped up his fifth year as Kansas City's defensive backs coach. His coaching contributed to the breakouts of L'Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie at the cornerback position, as well as the steady play of Justin Reid at safety. He has 27 years of coaching experience under his belt, enjoying a four-year playing career before that. Merritt also has a linebacker background both as a player and position coach. 

An alum of the NFL's coach accelerator program, Merritt is well-positioned for a future defensive coordinator gig. With that said, he spoke on Jan. 4 about that possibility and hinted at it being more of a future venture. Merritt and his wife wanted to wait until their children were out of high school before making that big of a jump, and their youngest just wrapped up his sophomore year. At the time, Merritt implied that he was in no extreme rush.

"One of the things my wife Yolanda and I spoke about decades ago was that no matter what, I wasn't going to pursue any type of coordinating job while my kids were young," Merritt said. "Meaning, then, is the fact is I wanted to be there [at] Friday night games. I wanted to be there Saturday if I could to go to some games. You can ask my wife Yolanda, and she'll tell you the same thing. When that time arrives and if I'm afforded a position to be able to even go interview, I will consult with my wife and then we will take the next step. But right now, I'm focused on trying to make sure that I'll be the best defensive coach I can be for my guys. 

"A lot of guys think the grass is greener on the other side and then all of a sudden, you can go chase the money. But I've always told my young coaches that are around me, 'You want years of service. Years of service is more important than money, because money's going to come and go. It's fleeting. Honestly, you take that chair as a coordinator, you're responsible for the entire unit and now some of your closeness goes away. What we've experienced in the defensive back room and even when I was coaching linebackers, that bond that I've had with my players over the decades has been precious to me. I don't want to lose that right now."

Nevertheless, this development is noteworthy for the Chiefs. San Francisco, who just faced Kansas City in Super Bowl LVIII, fired Steve Wilks and has been on the lookout for a defensive coordinator ever since. Merritt's combination of leadership and championship DNA makes him a very appealing candidate. At the very least, taking an interview is good experience for him for the future. A coordinator job is life-changing for many, though, so this has to be taken seriously. It's something to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses.