What a difference a month makes.
When reports surfaced back in February about the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns having trade discussions involving Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh, the general thought was that the Harbaugh/49ers relationship was strained. Now, all seems to be well again by the bay.
To find evidence of the front office and Harbaugh being on the same page, you would have to look no further than the transactions the team made during the free-agency period. While general manager Trent Baalke has final say over the roster, the additions had Harbaugh’s stamp of approval all over them.
The trade for Jonathan Martin was clearly something that Harbaugh either had great influence on or was at least consulted about. Martin played for Harbaugh during his time at Stanford, and the coach was vocal in his support of the of the offensive lineman when he left the Miami Dolphins in October due to alleged bullying.
While Martin could serve an important role on the team as a reserve tackle, the media circus that comes with him might be a distraction to some organizations. Harbaugh was clearly confident his staff and veteran players could calm any storm that may come, and he feels the 49ers can revive Martin’s career.
The second move that showed Harbaugh and the front office are in lock step was the acquisition of Blaine Gabbert. Harbaugh has more of a say in matters when it comes to quarterbacks, and he took a long look at Gabbert during the 2011 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Harbaugh was a big part of bringing Gabbert in.
The quarterback position could have been an issue between Harbaugh and Baalke recently as the team has gone through a number of backups since Alex Smith was dealt. The 49ers have had a revolving door behind Colin Kaepernick as Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels, Seneca Wallace, Colt McCoy, John Skelton and McLeod Bethel-Thompson have all been on the roster at some point in the last year. The hope is that Gabbert will be able to provide some stability in the No. 2 spot.