San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh should be paid handsomely and should be paid as such before the 2015 season begins even though he still has two years left on his current contract. The 49ers and Harbaugh have entered contract talks on multiple occasions, but the talks always seem to stall because neither party is on the same page. Harbaugh’s camp believes he should be paid like a Super Bowl winning coach, while the 49ers believe he shouldn’t because, well, he hasn’t won a Super Bowl.
So if Harbaugh wants to be paid like a Super Bowl winning coach but hasn’t won a Super Bowl yet, why should the 49ers pay him? Well, it’s simple really. Jim Harbaugh, Super Bowl or not, is one of the best coaches in the NFL. In three seasons of being with the 49ers, he has been to two NFC Conference Championship games and one Super Bowl. He was a punt return fumble away from winning one of the NFC Championship games and one play away from the other. He was also one play away from winning a Super Bowl as well. Not only is he a great head coach, but he’s particularly talented at coaching the quarterback position, which is now the most important position in football.
I understand what it is the 49ers are hoping for. They know how good Harbaugh is at his job. They’re hoping they can sign him now below what he’s asking so when he eventually does win a Super Bowl, they have a Super Bowl winning coach at below market value. What they are hoping and praying doesn’t happen is what happened to the Baltimore Ravens two seasons ago.
The Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco were trying to work out a deal before Flacco’s contract expired. The Ravens didn’t want to pay Flacco what he was asking and decided to wait until the next offseason. The Ravens won the Super Bowl that season and the Ravens then had to pay Flacco top level money even though Flacco isn’t quite a top level quarterback. This made it so the Ravens couldn’t pay their other players, and they had quite the hangover in 2013. While head coaches don’t count against the salary cap and wouldn’t cause the 49ers to not be able to afford certain players, money is still money.
If the 49ers don’t pay Harbaugh now, there’s a pretty good chance he brings the 49ers to the Super Bowl this season and wins it all. If he does that this season, you can rest assured his price will go up a substantial amount. If the 49ers pay him what he wants now and he wins a Super Bowl within the time frame of that contract, he will most likely still be well below his market value.