With every loss, it feels like the short and mostly successful romance between the San Francisco 49ers and Jim Harbaugh will be coming to an end. For now, it’s just rumors and trying to read between the lines, but both the franchise and the head coach aren’t letting anything out about a decision regarding his future.
The trendy rumor right now is Harbaugh getting traded to the Oakland Raiders. He has one more year left on his contract after this one. Part of the tension brewing since the offseason was the 49ers not giving him an extension already. It also has to do with his relationship with the CEO and especially his general manager – about the amount of control he wants to have, his salary, and the size of his staff, which is quite big, especially on offense.
But why the Raiders? Well, because they’d be willing to give up a lot to finally have a head coach without just promise but a great track record of building teams from the bottom up. Harbaugh has also been in the bay area for a long time, which means that working in Oakland means keeping his family in the same place, which is always a priority, even in a job that’s known to be about moving around the country almost on a yearly basis.
The second hottest option is the Michigan talk. His alma mater, and a school in dire need of a head coach that takes them out of an unusually long slump, including finishing at 5-7 this season, missing out on a bowl game for the first time under Brady Hoke. The master clapper still has a job which is surprising to many but with him meeting his interim Athletic Director very soon, maybe that fact is going to change as well.
Harbaugh, in his weekly meeting with the press, doesn’t seem to be worried or concerned about the future. The only thing he cares about now is lifting his players up from being destroyed by the Seattle Seahawks, and trying to turn around this 7-5 season into something that ends up with a fourth consecutive trip to the playoff. No one is dreaming of another conference championship game or Super Bowl. Not yet.
I really, I don’t worry about my future. I haven’t participated in any of that speculation. I just, I think I have a recessive gene for worrying about my own future. What’s significant is we move on without excuse and get it right. Make it right. That’s our jobs.
And why should he be worried? He has a big fat contract waiting for him at Michigan. Even if he’s fired by the 49ers which doesn’t sound too likely, he’ll be picked up with a huge contract by someone in the NFL. Harbaugh might not get his way in San Francisco, but he’ll end up being handsomely paid somewhere else.