Everyone seems convinced that Jim Harbaugh is leaving the San Francisco 49ers and joining Michigan, returning to College Football. However, there are other contenders for his services, and maybe the premier candidate to eventually land him are the Chicago Bears, a team he played quarterback for.
Harbaugh was a first round draft pick by the Bears in 1987 and played for them until 1993, having a couple of very good seasons in between all the mediocrity. The Bears have a head coach, Marc Trestman, who has more years on his contract, but sources strongly suggest that when this season is over, with the Bears finishing last in the NFC North, Trestman will lose his job, along with a lot of other people in charge of the massive failure.
And the Bears will be available to make a hiring. Harbaugh has one more year on his deal with the 49ers, but no one seems to believe he’ll end up coaching them in 2015. The losing season (7-8) so far and the terrible relationship with the front office according to reports is just too much to overcome or ignore. Maybe there have been exaggerations about the bad social situation in the 49ers locker room, but there’s always a hint (and maybe more) of truth to the story.
Before Michigan stepped in and became the number one spot for Harbaugh to land, partially because of the money they’re offering him ($8.17 million a season), the two most mentioned names in regards to Harbaugh were the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. The Jets will probably get rid of Rex Ryan when the season is over, and the Raiders have a vacancy at head coach as well, despite Tony Sparano doing quite well (winning three games!!!) as the interim head coach.
Unless the 49ers fire Harbaugh, we’re going to see a trade for him, which is something that rarely happens, but does exist in the world of the NFL. The more time passes the closer he seems to be to accepting the Michigan offer, but the Bears seem to be offering something different compared to the Jets and Raiders – mostly a better crop of players to work with and less recent history of doing terribly, not to mention being a franchise he has worked for in the past.
Harbaugh won’t announce his decision and the wheels won’t be moving forward until the season is over which happens in less than a week. Maybe it’s still about considering things with the family, and maybe it’s about waiting for more offers to flood in. One of the best head coaches in football won’t be without a job for long, but despite the strong Michigan connection, it’s not safe to doubt other suitors willing to spend a lot of money and other resources on him.