Reported late on Friday afternoon by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Cleveland Browns made an attempt to trade for San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Talks never reached an advanced stage and the Browns were denied their request. This has led to many people trying to find some meaning beyond the Browns trying to land one of the five best coaches in the NFL.
Which is to say that anyone trying to convince you that Harbaugh wanted to leave or that he was set to leave would be a mistake.
It has been reported that Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke have butted heads from time to time over certain player personnel decisions. To use this as evidence to support that Harbaugh wants out, however, is a mistake and somewhat naive. There are many examples of successful teams with such tension between their head coach and GM.
Others will point to the fact that Harbaugh and the 49ers have yet to agree to a contract extension, and therefore he would have been interested in departing in order to get the contract he wants. Firstly, contract extension talks have yet to start in earnest between the two sides; more importantly, however, there was just no way that Harbaugh would have left to coach the dysfunction that is the Browns. If anything, all the Browns did was give Harbaugh another bargaining chip.
Until Harbaugh signs his contract extension, it’s understandable that 49ers fans should have a bit of reservation as to whether or not he will stay beyond the two years left on his current contract. However, if you were to consider circumstances, you’ll see that it’s much ado about nothing.