CBS Sports recently reported that the Cleveland Browns came quite close to trading for San Francisco 49ers‘ head coach Jim Harbaugh, at least, according to Browns owner Jimmy Haslem. Later, however, Jason La Confora and Peter King each reported that the Browns did not get very far in their pursuit. La Confora had a few other interesting things to say about the Harbaugh/49ers situation as well. Confora suggested that the Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, would be more than interested in attempting a trade for Harbaugh, that Harbaugh does not get along very well with Trent Baalke (hardly new news) or team president Paraag Marathe. So where does this leave a coach who has reached the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons?
It is interesting to note that Jed York was quite quick to back Harbaugh after the allegations first surfaced of a potential trade to Cleveland. York also, in his first big move as CEO of the 49ers, hired the highly-sought after Harbaugh from Stanford. This is a man who appears, by all apparent accounts, to support the abrasive coach. Should the 49ers have to choose between Baalke and Harbaugh, I believe they would choose Harbaugh. I also think that would be the correct choice. The team had not changed extensively in its makeup from Singletary’s final season to Harbaugh’s first, but the results were dramatically different. That is a testament to his coaching ability and its value. Though Baalke has drafted players such as Aldon Smith and Eric Reid, we cannot forget the A.J. Jenkins debacle. Though Harbaugh may have had a say in some of these picks, there has never been any question that Baalke has the final say, so that is on him.
True, Harbaugh can drive some people up a wall. He is a good coach, however, and ought to be extended at some point, with or without a Super Bowl victory, and could perhaps be the most valuable man in the organization.