The marriage made in heaven may be crumbling. If published reports are true the San Francisco 49ers may try and re-visit trading head coach Jim Harbaugh after the 2014 season.
CBSSports Jason LaCanfora is reporting that Harbaugh and General Manager Trent Baalke are barely on speaking terms and that Harbaugh’s relationship with many others in the front office is strained. Throw into the mix that Harbaugh is not getting paid what he is worth compared to other coaches in the league, well, now you have a problem. An ego-maniacal, successful, underpaid head coach does not make for a happy bed-fellow.
None of us can see the inner-workings of the 49ers front office. One thing we don’t need a press pass to see is Harbaugh is incredibly intense. If his intensity is matched and even surpassed by some in the front office then that internal tug-of-war can deteriorate quickly. There can only be one decision maker in an organization and for the 49ers that person is Trent Baalke. Harbaugh may be the face of the 49ers but Baalke is the brains of the operation. Owner Jed York probably feels more comfortable with the suit and tie wearing Baalke than the Dockers wearing Harbaugh.
Speculating here, but it would not surprise me to hear Harbaugh wants more of a say in personnel decisions. Why wouldn’t he want that ? He has had an amazingly successful three-year coaching reign and may be growing tired of having players hand-picked for him. Moving forward, I don’t see Jed York over-paying Harbaugh or relinquishing or ceding any of the control from Baalke to Harbaugh.
One would reason, if Harbaugh is feeling squeezed why wouldn’t he take the job in Cleveland where the Browns were ready to have him coach and probably have more input in player personnel decisions ? Well, as a Browns fan that is easy to answer. They are the Browns. Until Jimmy Haslam can show he can run a buffet lunch line let alone a football franchise, the Browns will be toxic. Harbaugh may be desperate to make football decisions, but he wasn’t that desperate.
So, we do know Harbaugh will be at the helm for the 2014 San Francisco 49ers, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see his name back on the block next offseason. Don’t be fooled by the denials of Harbaugh and York saying a deal with the Browns wasn’t in the works and wasn’t true. Browns officials say parameters were set and the Niners were willing to let him walk. It makes sense for Harbaugh to nix the deal. With one more year running the 49ers and a chance to win a Super Bowl he could maximize his value not only in terms of dollars and cents, but in terms of responsibility. It is also in the 49ers best interest to let this play out. If they do win a title with Harbaugh on the sideline they can put his name out there and pretty much name the price for a desperate franchise he needs a bench boss.
Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. And it’s getting awfully hazy watching this 49er drama unfold.