Report: 49ers, Ulbrich shared interest before Sorensen hire

Reportedly moving Nick Sorensen from assistant coach to defensive coordinator after two years with the team, the 49ers conducted extensive research in their hunt for a new coordinator.

However, NYC Jets and San Francisco 49ers DC Multiple league sources told Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic that Jeff Ulbrich and he were both interested in joining a union. The 49ers may not have wanted an official interview, but the Jets made it known they would not let Ulbrich leave, according to Rosenblatt.

In spite of quarterback Zach Wilson's best efforts, the Jets' offense has faltered in recent seasons. However, Ulbrich's defense has been outstanding, and they ranked second in the NFL in opponent yards per game in 2023.

However, Ulbrich's interest in joining San Francisco—which just made its fourth playoff trip in five seasons—would undoubtedly be piqued, even though New York is expecting a fully healthy Aaron Rodgers in the near future.

Sorensen was an internal hire, and the 49ers returned to their DC origins by bringing on Brandon Staley as an assistant head coach. In the aftermath of San Francisco's loss in Super Bowl LVIII, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan dismissed Steve Wilks, creating the position of DC vacancy.

Ulbrich played linebacker for the 49ers from 2000 until he retired in 2009 due to a concussion. The 49ers drafted him with the 86th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. His coaching career began in 2010, and he has since served the Jets (since 2021). His previous stops include the Seattle Seahawks, UCLA, the Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta.

After interviewing Staley, defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks, defensive backs coach Dave Merritt of the Kansas City Chiefs, and safeties coach Gerald Alexander of the Las Vegas Raiders for the position of defensive coordinator,

Sorensen was promoted from his position as 49ers passing game specialist/nickel backs coach, ending a 17-day search for a new DC.